A double immunofluorescence method was developed for the monitoring of proliferation and differentiation of F9 embryonal carcinoma cells. Cytokeratin filament expression was used as a marker for differentiation, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)/cyclin or bromodeoxyuridine labeling were used as markers for proliferation. F9 cells had a high proliferation rate and were cytokeratin-filament-negative. Upon treatment with retinoic acid and dibutyryl cyclic AMP, cytokeratin-filament-positive cells with differentiated phenotype appeared. After 3 days, the extent of proliferation of cytokeratin-filament-positive cells was comparable to, but after 5 days significantly lower than, that of cytokeratin-filament-negative cells in the same culture. In differentiating F9 cells, cytokeratin filament expression is associated with, and even slightly precedes, the dramatic decrease in the rate of proliferation.