The serum and cerebrospinal fluid of a patient (NB) with subacute cerebellar degeneration were found to contain a novel antineuronal autoantibody (anti-Nb). Using this antibody, we have identified and characterized antigens present in a subset of neurons in the CNS and in some neuroectodermal tumor lines. Anti-Nb antibody bound to antigens of Mr 150, 120, and 65 kDa in Western blots using extracts of human cerebellar Purkinje cells or human cerebral cortical neurons. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated relatively specific binding of anti-Nb IgG to Purkinje cells in sections of human cerebellum and to some neocortical neurons, especially those in layer VI. Because of the association of cerebellar degeneration with occult malignancies, we screened a number of tumor cell lines for immunoreactivity to anti-Nb antibody; only tumor lines of neuroectodermal origin (melanoma, small-cell lung cancer, and neuroblastoma) expressed the Nb antigen. Anti-Nb antibody thus identifies neuronal and tumor cell antigens that appear to be unique in size and distribution of expression.