Several bacterial-expressed recombinant fragments encompassing the extracellular part of the beta 3 subunit of the integrin alpha IIb beta 3 were shown to recognize and bind soluble and immobilized forms of fibrinogen. Two of them, designated as rIII-11 (beta 3 274–368) and rIII-13 (beta 3 274–403), did not contain the established RGD-ligand binding sequence. In fact, they interacted, in a Ca(2+)-independent manner, with the C-terminal part of the fibrinogen gamma chain. Both beta 3 fragments blocked the participation of fibrinogen in the induction of platelet aggregation induced by adenosine diphosphate. Fragment rIII-13 was recognized by the anti-beta 3 monoclonal antibody B2A. This antibody, which possesses an epitope exposed on both resting and activated platelets, inhibited fibrinogen binding as well as platelet adhesion and aggregation. In conclusion, the results demonstrated that the 274–368 sequence of the beta 3 subunit of integrin alpha IIb beta 3 constitutes a fibrinogen ligand binding domain, distinct from the RGD-binding site, that is required for both platelet adhesion and aggregation.