The laminin-nidogen complex and purified nidogen both bind collagen IV but not other collagens, as shown by solid-state ligand-binding and inhibition assays. Laminin purified from the dissociated complex and a variety of laminin proteolytic fragments failed to bind collagen IV. Complexes formed in solution between nidogen or laminin-nidogen and collagen IV were visualized by rotary shadowing which identified one major binding site about 80 nm away from the C-terminus of the collagen triple helix. A second, weaker binding site may exist closer to its N-terminus. Binding sites of nidogen were assigned to its C-terminal globular domain which also possesses laminin-binding structures. A more diverse collagen-IV-binding pattern was observed for the laminin-nidogen complex, whereby interactions may involve both nidogen and short-arm structures of laminin.