Two synthetic peptides with sequences identical with those of fragments of the extracellular domain of the Alzheimer's-disease amyloid precursor protein (APP) were used to raise antibodies. SP28 comprises positions 597-624 of the APP695 isoform, whereas SP41 extends towards the N-terminus (amino acids 584-624) and contains the entire SP28 peptide. Using e.l.i.s.a. and inhibition experiments we identified the two beta-turn-containing segments 602-607 and 617-624 as the epitopes recognized by anti-SP41 and anti-SP28 respectively. Both antibodies immunolabelled amyloid lesions in brains from Alzheimer's-disease patients and patients with related disorders, whereas they were unreactive in control brains. However, when probed on immunoblots, anti-SP28 failed to detect full-length APP from baculovirus-infected Sf9 cells, and anti-SP41 reacted weakly compared with other anti-APP antisera. The data suggest that these antibodies are directed to conformational epitopes not existent in the native molecules but present after alternative APP processing.