We have cloned and determined the nucleotide sequence of the Ig VH and VL region genes of an IgM kappa mAb that binds to denatured DNA and myelin from a patient (POP) with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and peripheral neuropathy. Sequence analysis indicates that the V region of the kappa L chain gene (PopVK) has 99% homology to a V kappa IIIa germ-line gene and the V region of the mu H chain gene (PopVH) has 96% homology to the VH26 germ-line gene that is a member of the VH3 gene family. It is likely the V kappa and VH genes arose from these respective germ-line genes via somatic mutation or from closely related genes. V kappa III genes have frequently been used by other IgMk mAb especially those with rheumatoid factor activity, and the VH26 gene with no somatic mutation has been used by several anti-DNA antibodies, suggesting the possibility of preferential association of these or related germ-line genes with autoantibodies. The minor differences between the sequences of POP's VH and V kappa genes and sequences used by other autoantibodies, may be responsible for this antibody's crossreactivity with myelin and, as a result, the autoimmune neuropathy.