A newly generated monoclonal antibody (mAb C9.1) described in this study identifies a surface membrane molecule that is involved in the lytic programme of activated natural killer (NK) cells. This conclusion is based on the facts that, first, this antigen was expressed on the vast majority of surface immunoglobulin (sIg)- CD3- CD4- CD8- spleen lymphocytes, albeit it was also present on minor subsets of sIg+ B (approximately 7%) and CD3+ T (approximately 2%) lymphocytes; second, that all splenic NK activity was contained within the C9.1+ cell population, and was almost totally abolished by treatment of spleen cells with mAb C9.1 and complement; third, that mAb C9.1 was capable of increasing interleukin-2-cultured and in vivo polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid-activated, NK cell-mediated, antibody-redirected lysis, but not freshly isolated NK cell-mediated killing. Furthermore, the strain distribution of the C9.1 antigen was shown to be antithetical to that of the 2B4 antigen already described as a molecule associated with major histocompatibility complex-unrestricted killing mediated by activated NK cells. The gene encoding C9.1 antigen was linked to the Akp1 isozyme locus on chromosome 1 close to the 2B4 gene. Although C9.1 and 2B4 were monomeric glycoproteins of 78 000 MW and 66 000 MW, respectively, removal of N-linked sugars from both antigens by endoglycosidase F yielded identical protein backbones of 38 000 MW. Thus, all of these results suggest that mAb C9.1 recognizes an allelic form of the 2B4 antigen. However, the detection of mAb C9.1-reactive antigen on a minor subset of B cells may suggest a possible reactivity of mAb C9. 1 with some product of other members of the 2B4 family genes.