Monoclonal antibody KS1/4 recognizes an epitope expressed on the cell surface of human adenocarcinoma cells and certain epithelia. Western blotting analyses of tumor cell extracts utilizing KS1/4 reveal staining of a major Mr 40,000 band and a minor Mr 42,000 band. Both components are also detectable in KS1/4 immunoprecipitates of L-[35S]methionine- and D-[3H]glucosamine-labeled human lung tumor cell extracts. When synthesis occurs in the presence of tunicamycin or when the immunoprecipitates are treated with peptide:N-glycosidase F, a single polypeptide component (Mr 37,000) is precipitated. Immediately following translation, digestion of Mr 40,000 and Mr 42,000 glycoproteins with endo-beta-N- acetylglucosaminidase H also yields a single polypeptide component at Mr 37,000. However, over a 3-h period beginning at 10 min posttranslation, a Mr 39,000 major component and a Mr 41,000 minor component gradually appear in the endo-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase H digests as the Mr 37,000 component gradually disappears. Analysis of tryptic glycopeptides derived from the Mr 40,000 and 42,000 components suggests that the two components differ by the addition of one extra oligosaccharide to the Mr 42,000 component. Nonequilibrium pH gradient electrophoresis/sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of KS1/4 immunoprecipitates resolves each of the two components into multiple spots. Digestion of the KS1/4 immunoprecipitates with neuraminidase prior to two-dimensional analysis or immunoprecipitation of short pulse-labeled extracts reduces the number of spots to three each at the Mr 40,000 and Mr 42,000 positions. Digestion of the KS1/4 immunoprecipitates with peptide:N-glycosidase F, immunoprecipitation of extracts labeled in the presence of tunicamycin, or endo-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase H digestion of immunoprecipitates of short pulse-labeled extracts prior to two-dimensional analysis results in a single series of Mr 37,000 spots, suggesting that the polypeptide portions of the Mr 40,000 and Mr 42,000 components may be identical. Endo-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase H digestion of KS1/4 immunoprecipitates of short pulse-labeled extracts, followed by nonequilibrium pH gradient electrophoresis, V8 protease digestion, and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed an apparently identical set of polypeptides derived from each of the three Mr 37,000 spots, suggesting that the three spots derive from highly similar polypeptides.