An increasing number of studies suggest the importance of antibodies in the pathogenesis of most systemic and organ-specific autoimmune diseases, although there is considerable controversy over the precise role of the autoantibodies involved. In humans, a major obstacle to progress is the identification and cloning of the relevant autoantibodies and autoantigens. Here, an approach based on the sequential use of antibody phage display and antigen expression libraries is developed and applied to a donor suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), splenomegaly, and peripheral destruction of neutrophils leading to neutropenia (Felty's syndrome). An antibody phage display library was constructed from bone marrow from the donor and a high-affinity human mAb, ANA15, selected by panning against fresh neutrophils and independently by panning against a fixed cell line. The antibody showed strong staining of neutrophils and a number of cell lines. Probing of a lambdagt11 expression library from an induced myelomonocytic cell line with the mAb ANA15 identified the eukaryotic elongation factor 1A-1 (eEF1A-1) as a novel autoantigen. The specificity of ANA15 was confirmed by reactivity with both purified and recombinant eEF1A-1. Screening of a large panel of sera revealed that 66% of patients with Felty's syndrome had elevated levels of anti-eEF1A-1 antibodies. The cloning of this antibody-antigen pair should permit rational evaluation of any pathogenicity resulting from the interaction and its significance in neutropenia.