While alpha- and beta-synuclein largely overlap in their expression in the vertebrate brain, only alpha-synuclein accumulates in the fibrillar aggregates typical of Parkinson's disease. It is thus critical to have immunological reagents that distinguish between these two protein isoforms. The monoclonal antibody Syn-1 (Transduction Labs) has been frequently used for the specific detection of alpha-synuclein. In this report, the epitope for Syn-1 is localized within residues 91-99 of human alpha-synuclein. Sequence differences exist in this domain that account for the specificity of Syn-1 for alpha- versus beta-synuclein. However, Syn-1 also displays reactivity with additional species (approximately 45 kDa) in brain homogenates from both wild-type and alpha-synuclein null mice, indicating a potential for cross-reactivity with a protein species that is unrelated to alpha-synuclein in brain tissue or extracts.