Type I topoisomerases (EC 220.127.116.11) are those enzymes capable of relaxing negatively supercoiled DNA without the need for ATP. The central role played by these enzymes in cell function suggests that the structure of type I topoisomerases may be highly conserved in eukaryotic cells. However, the extent of the conservation among eukaryotes is unknown. Human DNA topoisomerase I is an autoimmune antigen (Scl-70) of scleroderma patients. We have found that the autoimmune antibodies in human Scl-70 sera recognize protein from various plants, and these proteins display DNA relaxation function. In addition, Scl-70 antibodies were able to inhibit enzymatic activity of plant topoisomerase I. Therefore, the immunological cross-reactivity of the plant topoisomerase with human antibodies demonstrates that, despite divergence of eukaryotic organisms, these plant and animal enzymes retain structurally similar enzymatic features.