Immunization of mice with a plasma membrane-enriched fraction from human malignant melanoma cells and subsequent generation of hybridomas resulted in the isolation of an IgG1 monoclonal antibody, 155.8, that recognizes chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. By cell binding analysis, 155.8 was shown to react with seven of eight cultured melanoma cell lines, but not with a variety of lymphoblastoid cell lines or cultured tumor cells derived from other solid tumor types. Indirect immunoprecipitation of the 155.8 antigen from intrinsically labeled melanoma cells revealed a glycoprotein of Mr = 250,000 and a sulfated molecule of Mr greater than 400,000. The antigen was identified as a chondroitin sulfate type A/C proteoglycan synthesized by melanoma cells on the basis of its sensitivity to chondroitinase ABC digestion and the identification of sulfated glycosaminoglycans released from the antigen immunoprecipitated by 155.8. The determinants recognized by antibodies 155.8 and 9.2.27, another anti-chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, immunoprecipitate only a proteoglycan from high density cesium chloride gradient fractions, (1.487 g/liter); however, they immunoprecipitate a free glycoprotein of Mr = 250,000 from low density fractions (1.317 g/liter). This demonstrated that the 155.8 and 9.2.27 determinants, both of which reside on the glycoprotein of Mr = 250,000, are also present in the proteoglycan, suggesting that this glycoprotein is the proteoglycan core protein. Monoclonal antibody 155.8 reacts with a determinant on the core protein distinct from that recognized by 9.2.27. Proteoglycans bearing 155.8 determinants are distributed on the surface of cultured melanoma cells in a punctated fashion that apparently resolves to short, filamentous structures at high magnification. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that 155.8-defined proteoglycans are found in freshly biopsied melanoma tissue, suggesting that these antigens are also synthesized in vivo by melanoma cells.