The HC2 Ag is defined by a mAb raised against leukemic B lymphocytes from a patient with hairy cell leukemia (HCL). This 60 to 70-kDa Ag was immunoprecipitated from EBV-transformed B lymphoblastoid cell lines, from HCL-B cells, from the HUT-102 T cell line infected with HTLVI, and from activated monocytes. A binding assay with radioiodinated Fab' anti-HC2 confirmed this cellular distribution of the Ag and demonstrated 500 to 3000 binding sites on resting T cells, 300 to 11,000 binding sites on non-T cells, less than 3000 binding sites on chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells, and 29,000 to 223,000 binding sites on HCL-B cells. PMA plus anti-CD3 up-regulated HC2 expression on T cells and IFN-gamma up-regulated expression on monocytes. On B cells, EBV transformation may result in HC2 expression, and antibody to HC2 has been found to inhibit B cell differentiation and proliferation. The combined results suggest an important role for the HC2 membrane-associated Ag on cells responsible for the immune response.