This laboratory has previously isolated a fraction from rat liver nuclei consisting of nuclear pore complexes associated with the proteinaceous lamina which underlies the inner nuclear membrane. Using protein eluted from sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) gels, we have prepared antibodies in chickens to each of the three predominant pore complex-lamina bands. Ouchterlony double diffusion analysis shows that each of these individual bands cross-reacts strongly with all three antisera. In immunofluorescence localization performed on tissue culture cells with these antibodies, we obtain a pattern of intense staining at the periphery of the interphase nucleus, with little or no cytoplasmic reaction. Electron microscope immunoperoxidase staining of rat liver nuclei with these antibodies labels exclusively the nuclear periphery. Furthermore, reaction occurs in areas which contain the lamina, but not at the pore complexes. While our isolation procedure extracts the internal contents of nuclei completely, semiquantitative Ouchterlony analysis shows that it releases negligible amounts of these lamina antigens. Considered together, our results indicate that these three bands represent major components of a peripheral nuclear lamina, and are not structural elements of an internal "nuclear protein matrix." Fluorescence microscopy shows that the perinuclear interphase localization of these lamina proteins undergoes dramatic changes during mitosis. Concomitant with nuclear envelope disassembly in prophase, these antigens assume a diffuse localization throughout the cell. This distribution persists until telophase, when the antigens become progressively and completely localized at the surface of the daughter chromosome masses. We propose that the lamina is a biological polymer which can undergo reversible disassembly during mitosis.