Human mAb 2A2 recognizes an epitope present in the HLA-DQ1 + 4 specifications and also on several DQ7-positive cells. We have investigated the extra reactions of this monoclonal reagent on a wider panel of DQ1-, DQ4-negative/DQ7-positive B-cell lines. The results obtained support the existence of two subtypes of the HLA-DQ7 specificity on the basis of their reactivity with human mAb 2A2; the DQ7/2A2-positive variant has been found in 12 of 29 BCLs positive for the DR11 antigen, and in four of eight BCLs bearing DR4-DQ7 haplotypes. It has also been detected in the DR12-positive cells assayed and in several unusual DR/DQ7 combinations not commonly found in Caucasoid populations, including the DR13-DwHAG and DR14-Dw16 haplotypes. Results from competition binding assays between 2A2 and well-characterized murine anti-DQ polymorphic mAbs suggest that the epitope recognized by human mAb 2A2 on DQ1- or DQ4-bearing haplotypes is located on the DQ beta chains of such specificities, being amino acid residues 54-55, the potential binding site of antibody 2A2, whereas the binding site on DQ7 antigens cannot be explained on the basis of known amino acid sequences.