The membrane molecule termed "7F7-antigen" has been found to be involved in several examples of cell-cell interactions. This 85 kDa glycoprotein with a protein core of about 55 kDa contains N-linked and O-linked carbohydrates. It has an isoelectric point of 8.0-8.5 and is expressed on 20% of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, 35% of peripheral blood B-cells, follicular dendritic cells and vascular endothelium. It is also expressed on activated T-cells and its expression on B-cells, fibroblasts and monocytes increases after treatment with PWM, interferon-gamma and after three days culture, respectively. The MAb 7F7 used to define this antigen inhibits the initiation of T-cell proliferation induced by anti-CD3, PHA, ConA and (weakly) allogenic stimulator cells, but does not affect the growth of IL-2 dependent T-cells and does not interfere with the killing of PHA-blasts by allogenic IL-2 dependent T-cells. 7F7 also inhibits the binding of C3-coated sheep erythrocytes to B-cells, the PMA-induced aggregation of U937 and the binding of activated T-cells to fibroblasts. The 7F7-antigen is expressed on some non-Hodgkin lymphomas of B-cell differentiation, particularly those with follicular structure, but not on Burkitt's lymphoma, ALL or carcinomas of various tissues. It is, however, found on fibrous tissue surrounding infiltrating carcinoma cells. The expression of a melanoma antigen, P3.58, which was shown to be identical to 7F7-antigen correlates with stage and spread of invasive melanoma. It was concluded that the 7F7-antigen, which is probably related to a previously described adherence molecule (ICAM-1), is of biological importance for the initiation of T-cell responses. With the possible exception of melanoma its expression on neoplastic cells in vivo is unlikely to be of importance for the spread of malignant disease.