Hybridomas secreting monoclonal antibodies specific for the adenovirus early region 1A (E1A) proteins were prepared from BALB/c mice immunized with a bacterial trpE-E1A fusion protein. This protein is encoded by a hybrid gene that joins a portion of the Escherichia coli trpE gene and a cDNA copy of the E1A 13S mRNA (Spindler et al., J. Virol. 49:132-141, 1984). Eighty-three hybridomas that secrete antibodies which recognize the immunogen were isolated and single cell cloned. Twenty-nine of these antibodies are specific for the E1A portion of the fusion protein. Only 12 of the monoclonal antibodies can efficiently immunoprecipitate E1A polypeptides from detergent lysates of infected cells. E1A polypeptides were analyzed on one-dimensional, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels and two-dimensional, isoelectric focusing polyacrylamide gels. The E1A proteins that are specifically immunoprecipitated by the monoclonal antibodies are heterogeneous in size and charge and can be resolved into approximately 60 polypeptide species. This heterogeneity is due not only to synthesis from multiple E1A mRNAs, but also at least in part to post-translational modification. Several of the monoclonal antibodies divide the E1A polypeptides into immunological subclasses based on the ability of the antibodies to bind to the antigen. In particular, two of the monoclonal antibodies bind to the polypeptides synthesized from the 13S E1A mRNA, but not to other E1A proteins.