A panel of six monoclonal antibodies recognizing at least three different antigenic regions has been raised against the L1 major capsid protein of human papillomavirus type 33 (HPV-33), which is associated with cervical carcinoma. The antigenic sites defined by these antibodies have been mapped and classified as type-restricted or broadly cross-reactive using bacterially expressed L1 fusion proteins of a variety of HPV types. Conformational and linear epitopes have been distinguished using native and denatured virus-like particles. HPV infection of genital lesions has been analysed using both monoclonal antibodies and DNA amplification by PCR. The antibodies obtained should be useful to probe the structure of HPV capsids and to develop a general assay for the detection and classification of productive HPV infections.