HLA-A2-restricted, CD3+, CD8+, alpha/beta+ cytotoxic T cell (CTL) clones were isolated from peripheral blood (PBL) or tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) of two HLA-A2+ melanoma patients (9742 and 5810), to evaluate the possible recognition of autologous melanoma and of allogeneic HLA-A2-matched normal melanocytes. These CTL clones lysed not only fresh and cultured autologous melanoma cells, but also allogeneic HLA-A2+, but not HLA-A2-, normal melanocytes. The lysis of autologous neoplastic cells and of melanocytes could be inhibited by an anti-HLA-A2 monoclonal antibody (mAb). Lysis of the normal melanocytes was not dependent on the presence of human or fetal calf serum in the culture medium. HLA-A2-restricted CTL clones recognized not only proliferating melanocytes cultured in complete melanocyte medium, but also melanocytes made quiescent by culture for up to 6 d in a basal medium devoid of exogenous factors such as phorbol ester (O-tetradecanoyl phorbol 13-acetate [TPA]), epidermal growth factor, insulin, and pituitary extracts. Analysis of specificity of four CTL clones (A75, A83, A94, and 119) from patient 9742, performed on a panel of 39 targets, indicated that the three HLA-A2-restricted CTL (A75, A83, and A94) lysed all but one of nine allogeneic melanomas expressing the HLA-A2 molecule with no reactivity on nine HLA-A2- allogeneic melanomas. Only a few instances of borderline reactivity were seen by the same effectors on 21 targets of nonmelanocyte lineage, including 12 carcinomas of different histology, four Epstein-Barr virus-transformed B cells (lymphoblastoid cell lines [LCL]), including the autologous LCL, four lines of normal fibroblasts, and normal kidney cells. Lack of reactivity on allogeneic targets of nonmelanocyte lineage occurred in spite of expression of HLA-A2 on 14 of these targets as determined by conventional tissue typing and cytofluorimetric analysis with four different anti-HLA-A2 mAb. These data indicate that tissue-related antigens can be expressed on normal and neoplastic cells of the melanocyte lineage and can be recognized in association with HLA-A2 by CTL clones from melanoma patients.