We have isolated and characterized a set of overlapping cDNA clones that encode the human centromere autoantigen centromere protein C (CENP-C). The identity of these clones has been established using several criteria. First, they were shown to encode a polypeptide that migrates at the expected position for CENP-C on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Second, we have demonstrated that this polypeptide shares at least two epitopes with human CENP-C. Polyclonal antibodies were raised to fusion proteins encoded by nonoverlapping regions of the cDNA clones. These antibodies were shown to recognize a protein at a position appropriate for CENP-C on immunoblots of human chromosomal proteins. In addition, we used indirect immunofluorescence to demonstrate that these antibodies recognize centromeres of HeLa chromosomes in the expected pattern for CENP-C. Localization of CENP-C by immunoelectron microscopy reveals that this protein is a component of the inner kinetochore plate.