Human B lymphocytes transformed by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) express a new membrane protein of 63 kDa (latent membrane protein, LMP) encoded by the virus. The function of this protein in the virus-cell interaction is not known. In this work we have identified in EBV- human and mouse cell molecules which cross-react with LMP. Two types of reagents were employed: (a) antibodies against LMP-derived synthetic peptides, affinity purified from antisera against a fusion protein containing the carboxy half of the LMP molecule and (b) antisera prepared by immunizing rabbits directly with the peptide conjugates. Cross-reactions were determined by radioimmunoblotting experiments. At least six molecules (Mr = 110, 85, 63, 53, 45 and 23 kDa), present in a variety of human cells (peripheral blood lymphocytes, B cell lines and epithelial cell lines) were found to cross-react with the LMP-derived peptides. Cross-reacting proteins were also identified in normal mouse tissues. The specificity of the cross-reacting antibodies was confirmed by inhibition experiments with the corresponding peptide. Furthermore, antibodies eluted from individual bands were shown to bind to the same band when reacted with new blots of the same extracts. Our data suggest that normal cells contain a family of highly conserved proteins cross-reacting with the LMP molecule. If, indeed, these proteins share common functions, their study may lead the way to unraveling the function of LMP.