We have analyzed sera from 55 patients, most with rheumatic diseases, that all react with the nuclear envelope of human cells in immunofluorescence microscopy. The molecular targets of these autoantibodies were characterized by immunoblot analysis of fractions derived from rat liver nuclear envelopes. While numerous sera were found to react with previously characterized autoimmune antigens of the nuclear envelope including nuclear lamins and the pore complex glycoprotein gp210, a substantial number of the sera were found to recognize relatively minor integral membrane proteins of the nuclear envelope associated with the nuclear lamina (LAP 1A and LAP 2), which have not been previously identified as autoantigens. Autoantibodies to LAP 1A and LAP 2 are present in 9 and 29% of the patient sera, respectively. Only autoantibodies to lamins A/C were encountered more frequently (in 31% of the sera) than autoantibodies to LAP 2, suggesting that LAP 2 may be among one of the most prominent autoantigens of the nuclear envelope in rheumatic disease patients. Since recent studies have suggested that LAP 1A and LAP 2 may be involved in attaching lamins and chromosomes to the nuclear envelope, these findings could promoted understanding of nuclear envelope functions as well as autoimmunity.