The localization of the integrin alpha 6 beta 4, a transmembrane adhesion molecule associated with hemidesmosomes, was studied in mouse junctional epithelium (JE) by the use of monoclonal antibodies in indirect immunofluorescence microscopy. The results showed that the integrin a6 subunit was expressed throughout the JE and was localized to the cell membranes, including the aspects facing the internal and external basal laminae. The beta 4 subunit had a more restricted distribution. It was expressed only in cells facing the internal and the external basal laminae and had a basally polarized distribution. In other parts of gingival epithelium, both integrin subunits were mainly expressed at the basal aspects of basal epithelial cells. The basement membrane components, type IV collagen and laminin, could be detected only in the external basal lamina and in other basement membranes of gingival epithelium. The results indicate that the a6 beta 4 integrin, expressed in mouse JE, has a role in mediating the attachment of the cells to the basement membranes facing the connective tissue and the tooth.