Antibody against a cross-reactive idiotype (CRI) on human IgM-rheumatoid factor (RF) antibodies was induced by immunization of rabbits with a synthetic peptide ( PSL2 ) corresponding to the second complementarity-determining region (CDR), and adjacent amino acid residues of the kappa light chain of the IgM-RF Sie . The anti-peptide antibody bound efficiently to IgM-RF proteins known to share a cross-reactive idiotype, and to their isolated kappa chains. The anti-CRI was absorbed by, and eluted from, a peptide-Sepharose affinity column. The antibody activity was inhibited by the free peptide in solution. The anti-peptide antibody thus identifies a public idiotype on human IgM-RF, that is largely dependent on the primary sequence of the second CDR of the light chain. Such peptide-induced antiidiotypes of predefined specificity may facilitate studies of the molecular basis of idiotypic cross-reactions, the inheritance and somatic diversification of antibody molecules, and the regulation of the idiotype network.