This study examines monoclonal antibodies derived from mice at different time points after infection with attenuated murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV). The antibodies obtained from mice at 3 weeks p.i. were of IgG type (designated V-antibodies) and several could neutralize the virus. Those obtained at 5 weeks p.i. were of the IgM class (designated R-antibodies), bound to uninfected (MEF, mouse embryo fibroblast) cells, and thereby blocked MCMV plaque formation. In ELISA, the IgM monoclonals (R-antibodies) bound to GalB1-3GlcNAc and GalB1-4GlcNAc, the receptor determinants for MCMV. Similarly, these GlcNAc-containing residues blocked the binding of purified IgM monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to MEF. The R- and V-series of antibodies showed mutual binding activities; for example, IgM MAb R-2D8 bound specifically to four (V-8C4, V-1C7, V-8C7, V-9C5) of six neutralizing IgG MAbs in ELISA. The same neutralizing IgG MAbs bound to antireceptor IgM antibodies in an immunoblot assay. This suggests that the IgM monoclonals directed against the known cell surface receptor determinant are anti-idiotypic antibodies against neutralizing antiviral IgG antibodies. The neutralizing antiviral IgG MAbs bound to 60- and 66-kDa MCMV polypeptides on Western blots, suggesting that these viral polypeptides may be important in MCMV binding to this receptor. The R-series might represent anti-idiotype antibodies capable of down-regulating antiviral V-antibodies and may also represent a mechanism for the induction of IgM autoantibodies directed at cell surface glycolipids present in autoimmune CMV-associated neuropathies.