The outer membranes of gram-negative bacteria are considered to be of importance in host-bacteria interaction, in protective immunity, and occasionally in subclassification within a species. In this study, the outer membranes of several strains of Yersinia enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis were analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). It was found that the appearance of the major proteins depended on the temperature at which they were solubilized in SDS. A protein was identified with the use of two-dimensional gels and preparative SDS-PAGE, which was equivalent to the "heat-modifiable protein" (protein II) of other Enterobacteriaceae species. A monoclonal antibody, 4G1, was generated against an isolated preparation of this Y. enterocolitica protein. This antibody was tested with whole cell bacterial antigens of 46 individual bacterial strains. The reactive strains included only Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis. In addition, the reactivity of the 4G1 monoclonal antibody preparation could be absorbed only with Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis, and not with other strains of bacteria. The reactivity of this 4G1 monoclonal antibody was also tested by the Western Blot technique. Six individual strains were tested: a Y. enterocolitica serotype 0:3, a Y. enterocolitica serotype 0:9, an Escherichia coli, a Salmonella typhimurium, a Shigella flexneri, and a Klebsiella pneumoniae. The 4G1 antibody reacted with only the proteins of the two Y. enterocolitica strains. In conclusion, the equivalent of the heat-modifiable protein was present in Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis. Moreover, this protein also carried a species-specific antigenic determinant.