The idiotype of a mouse monoclonal anti-I-E antibody, 14-4-4S, has been studied using a heterologous anti-idiotypic reagent. This antibody recognizes Ia. 7, an antigenic specificity present in all strains expressing a product of the I-E subregion. Expression of the 14-4-4S idiotype in humoral immune responses was analyzed by an idiotype-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay system. The idiotype was readily detectable in C3H.SW anti-C3H alloantisera, the same immunization combination from which the hybridoma was derived. Absorption analysis demonstrated the anti-I-E specificity of the idiotype-positive molecules in these alloantisera. Penetrance of idiotype expression was high among individual C3H.SW immune mice (9 of 10 tested). To examine genetic requirements for idiotype expression, an immunization was performed using as responders CWB mice, congenic with C3H.SW but differing at the heavy chain allotype loci. Immune sera of individual CWB mice contained very little or no idiotype, demonstrating that levels of idiotype expression are influenced by allotype-linked genes, although the influence of other genes has not been ruled. The 14-4-4S idiotype therefore represents a shared idiotype of anti-Ia antibodies and provides opportunities for analysis of the idiotypes of cellular receptors for the corresponding Ia antigen.