Hybridoma H129 .19 was derived by fusion between spleen cells of a Lou / Ws1 rat immunized with an Lyt-1+,2- anti-I-Ak cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone and the nonsecreting myeloma X63-Ag8.653. The monoclonal antibody (mAb) H129 .19 (IgG2a, kappa) was selected for its capacity to inhibit the lytic potential of the immunizing clone. H129 .19 identified a monomorphic determinant on a 55 m.w. murine T cell differentiation antigen, which appeared to be homologous to the human T4 molecule in that: 1) H129 .19 reacted with 80% adult thymocytes, with a subset of splenic T cells, and with the interleukin 2 (IL 2)-producing EL4 thymoma; 2) The mAb bound to and inhibited the IL 2 production and the proliferation of various allo- or soluble antigen-reactive T cell clones that recognized restriction or activating determinants on the I-A or I-E molecules, respectively; 3) H129 .19 did not inhibit the proliferation and/or cytolysis of Lyt-2,3+ T cells specific for class I MHC antigen; and 4) Among six anti-Iak CTL clones examined in this study, the mAb H129 .19 reacted with two I-Ak-specific, Lyt-2,3- clones on which it exerted strong cytolysis inhibiting effect at the effector cell level. By contrast, two other anti-I-Ak and two anti-I-Ek CTL clones were found to express the Lyt-2,3+,T4- cell surface phenotype. The cytolytic potential of the latter clones was not inhibited by anti-Lyt-2,3 mAb. These studies strongly suggest that the mouse T4 molecule facilitates the recognition of class II MHC antigen by most but not all T cells.