p270 (ARID1A) is a member of the ARID family of DNA-binding proteins and a subunit of human SWI/SNF-related complexes, which use the energy generated by an integral ATPase subunit to remodel chromatin. ARID1B is an independent gene product with an open reading frame that is more than 60 % identical with p270. We have generated monoclonal antibodies specific for either p270 or ARID1B to facilitate the investigation of ARID1B and its potential interaction with human SWI/SNF complexes in vivo. Immunocomplex analysis provides direct evidence that endogenous ARID1B is associated with SWI/SNF-related complexes and indicates that p270 and ARID1B, similar to the ATPase subunits BRG1 and hBRM, are alternative, mutually exclusive subunits of the complexes. The ARID-containing subunits are not specific to the ATPases. Each associates with both BRG1 and hBRM, thus increasing the number of distinct subunit combinations known to be present in cells. Analysis of the panels of cell lines indicates that ARID1B, similar to p270, has a broad tissue distribution. The ratio of p270/ARID1B in typical cells is approx. 3.5:1, and BRG1 is distributed proportionally between the two ARID subunits. Analysis of DNA-binding behaviour indicates that ARID 113 binds DNA in a non-sequence-specific manner similar to p270.