Although reliable antibodies are available that distinguish human suppressor T (Ts) cells from CTL and other T cells, few are available for murine Ts cells. We have developed a mAb (984D4.6.5) that, in the presence of complement, depletes alloantigen-specific Ts cells but not CTL. This antibody recognizes activated TTs cells but not their precursors. In these studies, flow cytometric analysis demonstrates that 984D4.6.5 reacts with several Ts cell hybridomas, cloned Th cell lines and WEHI-3 (a myelomonocytic tumor cell line). Reactivity was not detected with BW5147, Th cell hybridomas, cloned Th cells, CTL lines and hybridomas, B cell lines, thymocytes, splenocytes, bone marrow cells nor a variety of tumor cells. Among 984D4.6.5 positive lines, expression is heterogeneous and the number of cells expressing high levels of the epitope is increased when the hybridomas are maintained at a relatively high cell density. Neuriminidase and pronase deplete the epitope recognized by mAb 984D4.6.5. Protein synthesis and glycosylation inhibitors also reduce expression of this epitope. These observations suggest that the epitope recognized by 984D4.6.5 is a carbohydrate linked to a polypeptide. This antibody was tested by ELISA for binding to a large panel of carbohydrates and glycollpids coupled to BSA. The only one that bound 984D4.6.5 was LS tetrasaccharide c (NeuNAcα2-6Galpβ1-4GIcNAcβ1-3GaIβ1-4Glc), an O-linked carbohydrate. Comparative analysis shows that both the sequence and the linkage of these sugars are essential to the reactivity with the 984D4.6.5 antibody. This epitope is expressed by a glycoprotein of-200 kDa, as shown by Western blots. The identity of this glycoprotein remains to be determined, but indirect evidence suggests that it is not CD45. © 1995 Oxford University Press.