LKM-1 autoantibodies, which are associated with autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, recognize P450IID6, a cytochrome P-450 monooxygenase. The reactivities of 26 LKM-1 antisera were tested with a panel of deletion mutants of P450IID6 expressed in Escherichia coli. 22 sera recognize a 33-amino acid segment of P450IID6, and 11 of these recognize a shorter segment, DPAQPPRD. PAQPPR is also found in IE175 of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Antibodies for HSV-1 proteins were detected by ELISA in 17 of 20 LKM-1 sera tested. An immobilized, synthetic peptide, DPAQPPRDC, was used to purify LKM-1 antibodies. Affinity purified LKM-1 autoantibodies react on immunoblots with a protein in BHK cells after infection with HSV-1. 11 of 24 LKM-1 sera, including 3 that recognize DPAQPPRD, also exhibit antibodies to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) protein, C100-3. Affinity purified LKM-1 antibodies did not recognize C100-3. However, partial sequence identity was evident between portions of the immunopositive 33-amino acid segment of P450IID6 and other portions of the putative HCV polyprotein. Immune cross-recognition of P450IID6 and HCV or HSV-1 proteins may contribute to the occurrence of LKM-1 autoantibodies.