Anti-Ro60KD autoantibodies are commonly found in sera from patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In order to identify the epitopes of this autoantigen, 22-mer, synthetic peptides overlapping by eight residues, and covering the entire sequence of the Ro60KD autoantigen were prepared. Three groups of sera were evaluated according to their autoantibody specificites. The first group consisted of monospecific anti Ro60KD sera from four patients with SLE and one with SS, the second one was composed of anti-Ro60KD+anti-La(SSB)-positive sera from four patients with SS and the third group included three normal sera and one anti Ro52KD serum. It was found that sera from SLE patients interact with a common antigenic site spanning the sequence TKYKQRNGWSHKDLLRSHLKP (169-190) of the Ro60KD protein. On the other hand, sera from SS patients recognise the ELYKEKALSVETEKLLKYLEAV (211-232) region of this autoantigen. Determination of the minimal required peptide length for optimal antibody recognition showed that the defined epitopes can be shortened to the NGWSHKDLLR (175-184) and KALSVETEKLLKYLEAV (216-232) sequences respectively. Inhibition experiments using the Ro60KD antigen and soluble peptides corresponding to the 175-184 and 216-232 segments further confirmed the specific antibody binding. These results, although only a small number of sera were used, indicate that the Ro60KD autoantigen, which is not characterized by disease specificity, contains two discrete epitopes specifically recognized from SLE and SS patient sera. Finally, the sequence similarity of the NGWSHKDLLR (175-184) epitope with some of the HLA haplotypes, associated with anti-Ro response, deserves to be noted.