Abstract It is known that high-molecular-weight (HMW) membrane proteins mediate interactions with constituents of the extracellular matrix and/or with cytoskeletal elements. To study participation of HMW membrane proteins in odontoblast or ameloblast differentiation, an immunological approach has been adopted. Antibodies directed against membrane proteins (Mr, 110–190) from mouse embryos have been produced by the hybridoma technique. Supernatants of hybridoma cultures were screened for their ability to stain dental tissues and also tested for their biological activities on dental cells in primary culture or on developing tooth germs in organ culture. An IgM monoclonal antibody, MC16A16, directed against a 165-kDa antigen present in plasma membrane preparations, reacted strongly with the dental epithelial cells cultured on glass, but not mesenchymal cells which maintained vinculin-containing focal contacts. This antibody, which affected the organization of dental-cell micro-filaments in primary culture, also inhibited the polarization of odontoblasts, but not that of ameloblasts.