Many receptors for cellular growth factors are known to be protein tyrosine kinases which become activated upon ligand binding at their extracellular domain. We describe here a method to detect the activation state of Epidermal Growth Factor receptor (EGFr) with a monoclonal antibody (mAb74). This antibody was found to preferentially recognize the ligand-activated EGFr as detected by immunoprecipitation, Western blotting and immunocytochemical techniques. mAb74 did not recognize other tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins and was not inhibited by phosphotyrosine, suggesting that it is recognizing an epitope specific for the ligand-activated EGF receptor. The reactivity of mAb74 towards EGFr was closely correlated with the EGF-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of endogenous substrates. This antibody allows one to detect the activated EGF receptor in vitro or in vivo even in a complex mixture of other tyrosine kinases and substrates.