Previously we established that the alpha(3)beta(1) integrin shows stable, specific, and stoichiometric association with the TM4SF (tetraspannin) protein CD151. Here we used a membrane impermeable cross-linking agent to show a direct association between extracellular domains of alpha(3)beta(1) and CD151. The alpha(3)beta(1)-CD151 association site was then mapped using chimeric alpha(6)/alpha(3) integrins and CD151/NAG2 TM4SF proteins. Complex formation required an extracellular alpha(3) site (amino acids (aa) 570-705) not previously known to be involved in specific integrin contacts with other proteins and a region (aa 186-217) within the large extracellular loop of CD151. Notably, the anti-CD151 monoclonal antibody TS151r binding epitope, previously implicated in alpha(3) integrin association, was mapped to the same region of CD151 (aa 186-217). Finally, we demonstrated that both NH(2)- and COOH-terminal domains of CD151 are located on the inside of the plasma membrane, thus confirming a long suspected model of TM4SF protein topology.