A monoclonal anti-idiotypic antibody (anti-Id) to a public idiotype (Id) present on spontaneous IgG antibodies to DNA from NZB/NZW F1 mice recognized similar determinants on polyclonal and monoclonal IgG anti-DNA antibodies from mice of the unrelated MRL/lpr and BXSB strains. Incubation of the anti-Id with four of five monoclonal Id in solid phase inhibited their ability to bind DNA; however, different Id+ antibodies recognized different epitopes within the DNA molecule. Therefore, the public Id was located close to the antigen-binding regions but did not comprise all of those regions. Analysis of multiple polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies to DNA showed the Id on all subclasses of IgG. However, antibodies bearing the Id carried a neutral or cationic charge (10 of 10 monoclonals with pI greater than 7 were Id+); the presence of the Id on anionic IgG (pI less than or equal to 7) was infrequent (one of 21 serums, one of eight monoclonal antibodies). Therefore, IgG autoantibodies to DNA are constructed from closely related public idiotypes in several mouse strains that spontaneously develop lupus, and that Id is restricted to antibodies with a pI of 7 or greater.