The cytoplasmic fragment of band 3 protein isolated from the human erythrocyte membrane was linked to a CNBr-activated Sepharose matrix in an attempt to measure, in batch experiments, its equilibrium binding constant with oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin at physiological pH and ionic strength values and in the presence or the absence of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate. All the experiments were done at pH 7.2, and equilibrium constants were computed on the basis of one hemoglobin tetramer bound per monomer of fragment. In 10 mM-phosphate buffer, a dissociation constant KD = 2 X 10(-4)M was measured for oxyhemoglobin and was shown to increase to 8 X 10(-4)M in the presence of 50 mM-NaCl. Association could not be demonstrated at higher salt concentrations. Diphosphoglycerate-stripped deoxyhemoglobin was shown to associate more strongly with the cytoplasmic fragment of band 3. In 10 mM-bis-Tris (pH 7.2) and in the presence of 120 mM-NaCl, a dissociation constant KD = 4 X 10(-4)M was measured. Upon addition of increasing amounts of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, the complex formed between deoxyhemoglobin and the cytoplasmic fragment of band 3 was dissociated. On the reasonable assumption that the hemoglobin binding site present on band 3 fragment was not modified upon linking the protein to the Sepharose matrix, the results indicated that diphosphoglycerate-stripped deoxyhemoglobin or partially liganded hemoglobin tetramers in the T state could bind band 3 inside the intact human red blood cell.