In this study we have examined a protein associated with bile canaliculi of mouse and rat hepatocytes that is detected by monoclonal antibody BG9.1. The protein is seen by indirect-immunofluorescence microscopy as 2 discrete parallel lines at the lateral borders of adjacent hepatocytes. This pattern is present during development in the day 13 fetal mouse liver. Electron microscopy with immuno-gold labeling indicated that the protein is associated with the cytoplasmic surface of junctional complexes located on either side of bile canaliculi. BG9.1 reacts with a protein of 192,000 apparent molecular weight on immunoblots of plasma membrane isolated from mouse and rat hepatocytes. It has been reported that unlike most cellular components, tight junctions are not soluble in sodium deoxycholate. Extraction of isolated hepatic plasma membrane sheets with deoxycholate and other reagents did not eliminate the pattern seen by indirect-immunofluorescence microscopy and enhanced the intensity of reactions on immunoblots. BG9.1 also binds to the junctional-complex region in other epithelial cell types. These results indicate that BG9.1 detects a deoxycholate-insoluble protein associated with junctional complexes and suggests that the protein is a component of tight junctions.