The antigenic determinant recognized by the monoclonal antibody that had been raised against synthetic human interferon-alpha 1 (IFN-alpha 1) fragment 111-166 [Arnheiter, H., Thomas, R.M., Leist, T., Fountoulakis, M., and Gutte, B. (1981) Nature (Lond.) 294, 278-280] and that cross-reacted with human IFN-alpha 1, IFN-alpha 2, and IFN-alpha A made in Escherichia coli, was localized to the region between residues 151 and 166 using synthetic COOH-terminal interferon fragments. In solid-phase radioimmunoassays neither the strongly hydrophilic COOH-terminal nonapeptide IFN 158-166 nor its mixtures with IFN 151-162 or IFN 149-158 showed any measurable interaction with the antigen binding site of the monoclonal antibody. For antibody binding, the full covalent structure of IFN 151-166 was required. Quantitatively very similar results were obtained with IFN 149-166 and IFN 143-166. The synthetic COOH-terminal hexadecapeptide of human IFN-alpha 1 (IFN 151-166) could be crystallized.