Antigenic proteins of brain synaptic plasma membranes (SPM) and postsynaptic densities (PSD) were characterized using antisera raised against SPM. Immunostaining of brain sections showed that the antigens were restricted to synapses, and electron microscopy revealed staining at both presynaptic terminals and PSDs. In primary brain cell cultures the antisera were also neuron-specific but the antigens were distributed throughout the entire neuronal plasma membrane, suggesting that some restrictive influence present in whole tissue is absent when neurons are grown dispersed. The antigenic proteins with which these antisera react were identified using SDS gel immunoblots. SPM and PSD differed from one another in their characteristic antigenic proteins. Comparison with amido-black stained gel blots showed that in both cases most of these did not correspond to known abundant proteins of SPM or PSDs revealed by conventional biochemical techniques. None of the antigens revealed by the polyclonal antisera were detected by any of a large series of monoclonal antibodies against SPM.