Mouse Mac-1, a complement receptor-associated surface structure on macrophages, and LFA-1, a function-associated structure on lymphocytes, comprise a novel family of leukocyte differentiation antigens participating in adhesive cell interactions. Mac-1 and LFA-1 contain alpha-subunits of 170,000 and 180,000 Mr, respectively, and beta- subunits of 95,000 Mr noncovalently associated in alpha 1 beta 1 complexes. The structural relation between the alpha- and between the beta-subunits, and the location of functionally important sites on the molecules, have been probed with antibodies. Both non-cross-reactive and cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (MAb) and antisera prepared to the purified molecules or the LFA-1 alpha-subunits were used. Reactivity with individual subunits was studied by immunoprecipitation after dissociation induced by high pH treatment, or by immunoblotting after SDS-PAGE. Cross-reactive epitopes on Mac-1 and LFA-1 were found to be present on the beta-subunits, which were immunologically identical. Non-cross-reactive epitopes that are distinctive for Mac-1 or LFA-1 were localized to the alpha-subunits. MAb to LFA-1 alpha- subunit epitopes inhibited CTL-mediated killing. Two MAb to Mac-1 alpha- subunit epitopes but not a third MAb to a spatially distinct alpha- epitope inhibited complement receptor function. Neither function was inhibited by a MAb binding to a common beta-subunit epitope. Therefore, sites of Mac-1 and LFA-1 involved in their respective adhesion-related functions, as well as distinctive structural features, have been localized to the alpha-subunits.