Monoclonal antibodies with specificity for HLA class I and class II antigens were generated which either inhibit or enhance the lytic activity of a cloned line of human NK cells. These antibodies were obtained from a fusion with spleen cells from mice immunized with NK clone 3.3. They affect the lytic function of that clone at the level of the killer cell; additional evidence suggests that the effect takes place during an early stage of lysis. Immunoprecipitation and cross-clearing experiments using MHC antibodies of known specificity demonstrate the reactivity of mAbs 131 and 164 with HLA class I antigens and mAbs 210 and 273 with HLA class II antigens. Binding studies indicate that these antibodies are probably recognizing nonpolymorphic MHC determinants. Although these antibodies bind to other NK effector cells tested, they have no effect on the lytic function of these bulk NK populations. Preliminary studies, however, indicate that they do affect the NK activity of a proportion of the clones within these bulk populations. To further assess the potential role of HLA gene products in the lytic function of NK3.3, several well-defined anti-MHC antibodies were tested for their effects on NK3.3 function. The anti-HLA class I and class II antibodies could each be grouped into functional categories based on their ability to enhance, inhibit, or not affect the lysis of NK-sensitive targets K562 and MOLT-4 by NK clone 3.3. These results demonstrate, for the first time, a potential involvement of MHC molecules with NK function.