A monoclonal antibody (mAbIIa138) raised against the second-loop undecapeptide (residues [21-31]) of human transforming growth factor alpha, known to be involved in binding to its cell receptor, was found to define a hexapeptide epitope (RFLVQE, residues [22-27]). In enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testing mAbIIa138 did not react with either native or reduced human transforming growth factor alpha, indicating that conformational restraints in this protein interfered with the antigenicity of the cognate sequence. Despite its failure to react with human transforming growth factor alpha, this monoclonal antibody proved very interesting when used to immunostain mammalian cells. mAbIIa138 was found to bind with great specificity to the centrosomes of late-interphase and mitotic cells. The staining of the centrosomes was most intense when the centrosomes were active in organizing the mitotic spindle and faded during telophase as the spindle was disaggregated. The epitope that mAbIIa138 recognizes is thus in a centrosomal protein, denoted CSP alpha, involved in some aspect of mitotic spindle organization or function. Analysis of the antigenic stringency of the epitope, using an amino acid replacement set, showed that 25 individual single amino acid replacements were possible without significant loss of antigenicity. Data bank searches for proteins of possible relevance were unsuccessful, so CSP alpha is an as yet unsequenced protein, specific to the centrosome.