Id-16/6 is an idiotypic marker found in both IgM and IgG antibodies, as well as in the tissue lesions of patients with SLE. The prototypic Id-16/6+ mAb is 18/2, whose VH3-derived H chain is encoded by an unmutated germ-line gene. We found that the H chains of VH3-derived Id-16/6+ antibodies contain the major determinants of Id-16/6. Moreover, B cell clones from which those antibodies were harvested produce RNA that hybridized under conditions of high stringency to oligonucleotide probes corresponding to the CDR of the VH segment of 18/2. Western blots of Id-16/6+ mAbs with anti-Id confirmed the association of the Id with H chains. Id-16/6 can identify a subgroup of VH3-derived antibodies we have termed the 18/2 CDR family. However, Id-16/6 can also be expressed in some antibodies unrelated to the 18/2 CDR family. No characteristic Ag-binding specificity was found among the members of the 18/2 CDR family. The principal phenotypic feature shared by all known members of the family is Id-16/6.