A cDNA library was constructed in pBR322 using mRNA from blood stages of a Papua New Guinean isolate of Plasmodium falciparum. Expression of parasite antigens was not directly detectable by conventional immunological assays. To circumvent this, mice were immunized with lysates of cDNA clones, and the antisera raised were assayed for anti-parasite reactivity. One cDNA clone was identified which reliably elicited antibodies to P. falciparum. The mouse antisera were used to characterize the native P. falciparum protein as a 120-kd protein, which is antigenic during natural infection. The protein occurs in late trophozoite and schizont stages and is found in isolates of the parasite from widely separated geographical areas. The genomic context of the antigen gene is conserved in the different isolates.