This review describes the present state of a project to identify and characterize novel nervous system proteins by using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the Drosophila brain. Some 1,000 hybridoma clones were generated by injection of homogenized Drosophila brains or heads into mice and fusion of their spleen cells with myeloma cells. Testing the mAbs secreted by these clones identified a library of about 200 mAbs, which selectively stain specific structures of the Drosophila brain. Using the approach "from antibody to gene", several genes coding for novel proteins of the presynaptic terminal were cloned and characterized. These include the "cysteine string protein" gene (Csp, mAb ab49), the "synapse-associated protein of 47 kDa" gene (Sap47, mAbs nc46 and nb200), and the "Bruchpilot" gene (brp, mAb nc82). By a "candidate" approach, mAb nb33 was shown to recognize the pigment dispersing factor precursor protein. mAbs 3C11 and pok13 were raised against bacterially expressed Drosophila synapsin and calbindin-32, respectively, after the corresponding cDNAs had been isolated from an expression library by using antisera against mammalian proteins. Recently, it was shown that mAb aa2 binds the Drosophila homolog of "epidermal growth factor receptor pathway substrate clone 15" (Eps15). Identification of the targets of mAbs na21, ab52, and nb181 is presently attempted. Here, we review the available information on the function of these proteins and present staining patterns in the Drosophila brain for classes of mAbs that either bind differentially in the eye, in neuropil, in the cell-body layer, or in small subsets of neurons. The prospects of identifying the corresponding antigens by various approaches, including protein purification and mass spectrometry, are discussed.