Production of monoclonal antibodies directed against polymorphic epitopes of HLA class II molecules using whole human cells as immunogen has often proved ineffective, because most of the antibodies produced are directed against non-MHC human cell surface molecules. One approach to overcome this problem is the use of transfected mouse L cells expressing a single HLA class II allele as immunogen. By immunizing C3H mice with DR103-transfected L cells, we obtained 3 mAb, OHA TM901, OHA TM902, and OHA TM903, that recognize different polymorphic epitopes of the HLA-DR molecule. The molecular specificities of the 3 mAb were determined on a large panel of B-lymphoblastoid cell lines (B-LCL), peripheral blood cells and HLA class II transfectants from the XIth International Histocompatibility Workshop. Interestingly, the 3 polymorphic mAb detect new HLA-DR epitopes shared by several specificities: OHA TM901 reacts with DR1 (DR101, DR103), DR9 (DR901) and DR10 (DR1001) molecules; OHA TM902 recognizes the same molecules but also DR8 (DR801, 802, 803); OHA TM903 reacts with all DR types except DR3 (DR301, 302), DR7 (DR701, 702) and DR52. Surprisingly, OHA TM901 reacts with DR9 transfectants and B-LCL but not with DR9 peripheral blood lymphocytes. Biochemical analyses indicate that the 3 mAb immunoprecipitate HLA-DR products and react in western blots with DR alpha/beta-dimer but not with free alpha- or beta-chains. This study shows that transfected L cells are very useful tools for the production and the fine characterization of mAb recognizing polymorphic epitopes of HLA class II molecules.