Sera from chagasic patients possess antibodies recognizing the carboxy-terminal part of the ribosomal P0 protein of Trypanosoma cruzi and the second extracellular loop of the human beta 1-adrenergic receptor. Comparison of both peptides showed that they contain a pentapeptide with very high homology (AESEE in P0 and AESDE in the human beta 1-adrenergic receptor). Using a competitive immunoenzyme assay, recognition of the peptide corresponding to the second extracellular loop (H26R) was inhibited by both P0-14i (AAAESEEEDDDDDF) and P0-beta (AESEE). Concomitantly, recognition of P0-beta was inhibited with the H26R peptide. Recognition of P0 in Western blots was inhibited by P0-14i, P0-beta, and H26R, but not by a peptide corresponding to the second extracellular loop of the human beta 2-adrenergic receptor or by an unrelated peptide. Autoantibodies affinity purified with the immobilized H26R peptide were shown to exert a positive chronotropic effect in vitro on cardiomyocytes from neonatal rats. This effect was blocked by both the specific beta 1 blocker bisoprolol and the peptide P0-beta. These results unambiguously prove that T. cruzi is able to induce a functional autoimmune response against the cardiovascular human beta 1-adrenergic receptor through a molecular mimicry mechanism.