Protein-protein interactions play a significant role in maintaining the structural and functional integrity of the cell. We used multiple antigen peptides (MAPs) to analyze such interactions within the Ro (or SSA) ribonucleoprotein complex. Our data showed that 60 kD Ro and La colocalize in the nucleus of the cell. Previous data have indicated that 60 kD Ro and La co-exist via interactions with the hYRNAs. We were interested to see whether 60 kD Ro and La interact with each other through protein-protein interactions. MAPs were produced with sequences derived from the autoepitopes of 60 kD Ro. When used in agarose immunodiffusion certain MAPs formed precipitin lines specifically with Ro and La antigens. Used in affinity chromatography the Ro MAPs purified the Ro ribonucleoprotein particle from lymphocyte extract. Solid phase immunoassay and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) confirmed the observations obtained with agarose diffusion. Using SPR, kinetic analyses gave an apparent affinity constant of about 1 x 107 M-1 for Ro-MAP-60 kD Ro interactions. The autoantigens Ro and La are specific targets in autoimmune diseases, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Sjogren's syndrome, and are known to exist together as a complex with hYRNAs. The present data indicate that there are protein-protein interactions between Ro and La.