The antigen recognized with monoclonal antibody (mAb) Rip (Rip-antigen) has been long used as a marker of oligodendrocytes and myelin sheaths. However, the identity of Rip-antigen has yet to be elucidated. We herein identified the Rip-antigen. No signal recognized by mAb-Rip was detected by immunoblot analyses in the rat brain, cultured rat oligodendrocytes, or the oligodendrocyte cell line CG-4. As this antibody worked very well on immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry, Rip-antigen was immunopurified with mAb-Rip from the differentiated CG-4 cells. Eight strong-intensity bands thus appeared on 5–20% SDS-PAGE with SYPRO ruby fluorescence staining. To identify these molecules, each band extracted from the gel was analyzed by MALDI-QIT/TOF mass spectrometry. We found an interesting molecule in the oligodendrocytes from an approximately 44-kDa band as 2′,3′-cyclic nucleotide 3′-phosphodiesterase (CNP). To test whether CNP was recognized by mAb-Rip, double-immunofluorescence staining was performed by using Alexa Fluor 488-conjugated mAb-Rip and Alexa Fluor 568-conjugated mAb-CNP in the rat cerebellum, mouse cerebellum, cultured rat oligodendrocytes, and CG-4 cells. The Rip-antigen was colocalized with CNP in these cells and tissues. To provide direct evidence that CNP was recognized by mAb-Rip, rat Cnp1-transfected HEK293T cells were used for double-immunofluorescence staining with mAb-Rip and mAb-CNP. The Rip-antigen was colocalized with CNP in rat Cnp1-transfected HEK293T cells, but the antigen was not detected by mAb-Rip and mAb-CNP in mock-transfected HEK293T cells. Overall, we have demonstrated that the antigen labeled with mAb-Rip is CNP in the oligodendrocytes. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.