Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production against nuclear Ags. Recent studies suggest that the Cr2 gene, which encodes for complement receptor (CR)1 and CR2, is important in disease susceptibility. Because the precise disease phenotype related to this gene, in isolation or in relation to other genetic loci, is not known, we analyzed C57BL/6 mice with a targeted mutation in Cr2 (C57BL/6.Cr2-/-) with or without a concomitant mutation in Fas (C57BL/6.lpr Cr2-/-). The Cr2null mutation in a C57BL/6.lpr background markedly increases the serum concentrations of IgG1 and IgG2b and the levels of antinuclear and anti-dsDNA Abs as compared with C57BL/6.lpr controls. There is also a trend for higher concentrations of IgG2a and IgG3. In contrast, isolated deficiencies in either these CRs or Fas have a limited effect in the production of anti-dsDNA Abs. Moreover, the Cr2null mutation does not affect other disease manifestations. These findings demonstrate that abnormalities in CR1 and CR2 may be linked to the production of autoantibodies by modifying the effect of other systemic lupus erythematosus susceptibility genes. Phenotypic expression of other disease manifestations need additional Cr2-independent genetic factors.