Monoclonal antibodies were developed against poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and analyzed for their reactivity against the NAD+- and DNA-binding fragments. Two fusions were performed to obtain hybridomas and the resulting anti-poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase antibodies were further screened by characterization of their immunoglobulin light chains. Five different hybridomas were isolated which produced different immunoglobulin light chains, all of which were specific for poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. The specificities of these antibodies were determined by immunoblotting against the purified poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, its autodegradation fragments, and the fragments prepared by limited proteolysis with chymotrypsin and papain. These fragments have been suggested to contain the NAD+-binding site, the DNA-binding site, and the automodification site, respectively. All the monoclonal antibodies reacted with the 116 kdalton (kDa) band corresponding to the purified enzyme. Four antibodies reacted exclusively with antigenic site(s) on the 46-kDa fragment which contains the DNA-binding site. A fifth antibody reacted exclusively with a clearly different antigenic site on the 74- and 54-kDa fragments which possess the NAD+ (substrate) binding site. The immunoreactivity with the major autodegradation products (69- and 46-kDa fragments) of the purified enzyme confirms this difference between the two groups of antibodies. The 22-kDa fragment corresponding to the auto-modification site does not show any immunoreactivity with the antibodies.