Antibodies to native DNA (nDNA) in sera from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have been found to frequently correlate with antibodies to the A and D SnRNP proteins measured in Western blot assays. 40 of 54 SLE (74.1%) sera with anti-nDNA bound to A and D proteins, while 9 of 113 sera (8%) without anti-nDNA bound the A and D proteins, P < 10(-8) by Fisher's exact test. Antibodies to nDNA correlated closely with anti-A and anti-D in seven of eight patients followed sequentially, r = 0.7865. Nine human polyclonal anti-nDNA populations were isolated from DNA cellulose columns. Seven reacted equally with A and D, and two reacted predominantly with D. Two of three murine monoclonal anti-DNA antibodies isolated from NZB/NZW F1 hybrid mice bound A and D equally in Western blot with a titer > 1/40,000. These reactions were directed to the unfolded A and D proteins measurable in Western blot since these monoclonals (and several of the human anti-nDNA populations) failed to react with native U1RNP in ELISA or in RNA immunoprecipitation experiments. These newly recognized cross reactions of anti-nDNA may amplify the immune response to DNA and be part of the original immunogenic drive.