The self-binding properties of a dominant idiotypic antibody (T15) and a minor idiotypic antibody (M603), both specific for phosphorylcholine, were examined as models of self-binding antibodies (autobodies). Observed differences in the self-binding affinity of T15 and M603 relate to variable sequence differences in their respective heavy and light chains. A molecular recognition theory based on the translation of coding and noncoding DNA strands was used to identify complementary amino acid sequences responsible for self-binding. The second hypervariable region of the heavy chain domain, extending into the third framework region, was predicted as the primary self-binding locus. Among peptides synthesized with different variable heavy and light chain regions, a 24-residue peptide spanning the second hypervariable and third framework regions of the heavy chain of T15 was nearly as effective as phosphorylcholine in inhibiting the self-binding complexes.