The specificity of four cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clones which recognize class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens was analyzed. All clones recognized antigens associated with the serologically defined HLA-DRw6 specificity. The activity of two of these clones, JR-2-2 and JR-2-10, could be inhibited by a monoclonal antibody Q 5/13 specific for a monomorphic determinant present on HLA-DR. In contrast, the activity of the two other CTL clones, JR-2-19 and JR-2-26, was not blocked by Q 5/13, but by a new monoclonal reagent, SPV-L3. This latter monoclonal antibody precipitated a two-chain structure of 28 kDa and 33 kDa and reacts with a monomorphic determinant. The molecular weight of the polypeptides precipitated with SPV-L3 was slightly less than those precipitated with a HLA-DR-specific monoclonal reagent. In addition two-dimensional gel electrophoresis showed that the antigen precipitated by SPV-L3 differed in charge from those precipitated with the anti-HLA-DR antibody. These results indicate that SPV-L3 recognizes a class II MHC product different from HLA-DR. This observation was confirmed by partial amino acid sequence analysis of the two chains which revealed that the molecule precipitated by SPV-L3 is homologous to HLA-DC/DS molecules. Therefore this report provides the first evidence that human cytotoxic T cells can recognize HLA-DC/DS antigens.