Hepatocyte paraffin 1 (Hep Par 1), a murine monoclonal antibody, is widely used in surgical pathology practice to determine the hepatocellular origin of neoplasms. However, identity of the antigen for Hep Par 1 is unknown. The aim of this study was to characterize the Hep Par 1 antigen. To identify the antigen, immunoprecipitation was used to isolate the protein from human liver tissue, and a distinct protein band was detected at approximately 165 kDa. The protein band was also present in small intestinal tissue, but was not present in several other non-liver tissues nor in three human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines, Huh-7, HepG2, and LH86. The protein was purified and analyzed by mass spectrometry. It was identified as carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1). CPS1 is a rate-limiting enzyme in urea cycle and is located in mitochondria. We demonstrated that hepatoid tumors (gastric and yolk sac) were immunoreactive with both Hep Par 1 antibody and anti-CPS1 antibody, further confirming the results of mass spectrometric analysis. We found that the three human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines do not express either CPS1 RNA or protein. We confirmed that the gene was present in these cell lines, suggesting that suppression of CPS1 expression occurs at the transcriptional level. This finding may have relevance to liver carcinogenesis, since poorly differentiated hepatocellular carcinomas exhibit poor to absent immunoreactivity to Hep Par 1. In conclusion, we have identified the antigen for Hep Par 1 antibody as a urea cycle enzyme CPS1. Our results should encourage further investigation of potential role that CPS1 expression plays in liver pathobiology and carcinogenesis.