Much mustard agent research has focused on mustard/DNA interactions. Mustard also interacts with proteins, however, and to reach the DNA any agent must first pass through the cytoplasm. We hypothesized that the cell's proteins would covalently bind mustard, and thereby limit its access to the DNA. Keratinocyte proteins were radiolabeled with [14C]mechlorethamine and separated by electrophoresis. The banding patterns that resulted were made visible on x-ray films, then compared with control patterns. A correspondence of almost one-to-one was observed, which supports the hypothesis that many cellular proteins are susceptible to mustard alkylation. It follows that some mustard symptoms probably result from effects on existing proteins.