The variable domains of an antibody consist of a beta-sheet framework with hypervariable regions (or complementarity-determining regions--CDRs) which fashion the antigen-binding site. Here we attempted to determine whether the antigen-binding site could be transplanted from one framework to another by grafting the CDRs. We substituted the CDRs from the heavy-chain variable region of mouse antibody B1-8, which binds the hapten NP-cap (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenacetyl caproic acid; KNP-cap = 1.2 microM), for the corresponding CDRs of a human myeloma protein. We report that in combination with the B1-8 mouse light chain, the new antibody has acquired the hapten affinity of the B1-8 antibody (KNP-cap = 1.9 microM). Such 'CDR replacement' may offer a means of constructing human monoclonal antibodies from the corresponding mouse monoclonal antibodies.