Sera from individual MRL/lpr and MRL/++ mice, which develop an autoimmune disease similar to human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), were screened over a period of approximately 30 wk for the presence of anti-RNA polymerase I and anti-ssDNA antibodies. Even though onset of the disease is delayed in MRL/++ as compared to MRL/lpr mice, anti-ssDNA antibodies were present in comparable concentrations in the sera of all mice by the age of 6 wk. As observed in sera of human SLE patients, anti-RNA polymerase I antibodies were detected in the sera of all MRL mice. However, unlike the anti-ssDNA antibodies, anti-RNA polymerase I antibodies were detected much later in MRL/++ mice (mean age, 22.8 wk) as compared to MRL/lpr mice (mean age, 9.6 wk). The presence of anti-RNA polymerase I antibodies in sera of MRL mice was thus a much better indicator of disease status than the presence of anti-ssDNA antibodies. The appearance and increase in anti-RNA polymerase I antibodies in the sera of MRL/++ mice correlated (R2 = 0.964) with a precipitous decrease in anti-ssDNA antibodies, starting at about 20 wk of age. These results suggest a possible relationship between the RNA polymerase I and DNA autoimmune reactions.