A nuclear antigen associated with cell proliferation (proliferating cell nuclear antigen-PCNA) and blast transformation is recognized by autoantibodies in the sera of some patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. This autoantibody is a precipitating antibody and also reacts in immunofluorescence, staining the nucleoplasm of proliferating and blast-transformed cells. The autoantibody was used as a reagent to determine the distribution of PCNA in a synchronized continuous B lymphoid cell line (WiL-2) and in mitogen-induced blast-transformed lymphocytes. In WiL-2 cells, PCNA was detected as speckled nucleoplasmic staining in G1, S, and G2 phases of the cell cycle. In addition, during late G1 and early S phases, PCNA was also detected in the nucleolus. During mitogen-induced blast transformation of lymphocytes, PCNA was noticed in the nucleolus before the initiation of DNA synthesis and later became nucleoplasmic with disappearance of nucleolar staining. These studies demonstrate that the relationship of PCNA to proliferation and blast transformation may be associated with events related to DNA synthesis in these cells.