Autoantibodies directed against a ribosomal small subunit protein of 20,000 molecular weight were found in sera from 5 of 44 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (11%) and 5 of 48 MRL/lpr mice (10%). This ribosomal protein was identified as S10 on the basis of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting, as well as immunoblots of the purified S10 protein. The S10 protein antigen was readily extracted from ribosomes at low salt (300 mM KCl) and low magnesium (0.5 mM) concentrations, consistent with the highly exposed location proposed for this protein on the 40S subunit. Anti-S10 antibodies were observed significantly more frequently in lupus sera containing both anti-Sm and antiribosomal P protein antibodies and in MRL/lpr sera with anti-Sm activity, suggesting a linked pattern of autoantibody response. Together with anti-Sm and antiribosomal P protein antibodies, anti-S10 represents a third autoantibody highly specific for lupus in humans and MLR/lpr mice.