Monoclonal antibodies (McAb) against myosin from the pectoralis muscle of the adult chicken have been generated and shown to react specifically with the myosin heavy chain (MHC). The reactivities of two such McAbs with myosin from adult chicken atrial and ventricular myocardium were further analysed by immunoautoradiography, radioimmunoassay, and immunofluorescence microscopy. Monoclonal antibody MF 20 was found to bind both atrial and ventricular MHC and stain all striated muscle cells of the adult chicken heart. In contrast, McAb B1 bound specifically to atrial myocytes in immunofluorescence studies, while immunoautoradiography and radioimmunoassay demonstrated the specificity of this antibody for the atrial MHC. Upon reacting these McAbs with myosin isolated from embryonic hearts where definitive atria and ventricles were present, the same specificity of antibody binding was observed. Immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that all striated muscle cells of the embryonic heart contained MHCs recognized by MF 20, while only atrial muscle cells were bound by B1. When extracts of presumptive atrial and ventricular tissue were reacted with MF 20 and B1, significant reactivity of MF 20 was first observed at stage 10 in the presumptive ventricle and thereafter this McAb reacted with all regions of the developing myocardium. Binding of B1 was detected approximately 1 day later at stage 15 and was confined to atrial-forming tissues. These data demonstrate antigenic similarity between adult and embryonic MHC isolated from atrial myocardium and suggest the expression of an atrial-specific MHC early in the regional differentiation of the heart.