Two B-cell lines, 2F7 and 10C9, were established by single cell cloning from biopsies obtained from two acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients with Burkitt's lymphoma. Representation of the original tumors was verified by demonstration of (1) identical biallelic rearrangement of Ig genes for 2F7 and (2) shared idiotype for 10C9. Both cell lines displayed cell-surface Ig and secreted Ig (IgM lambda for 2F7, IgM kappa for 10C9). IgMs from both cell lines immunoprecipitated actin; in addition, 2F7 IgM lambda immunoprecipitated recombinant human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp 160. 2F7 IgM lambda did not react with other autoantigens (double-stranded and single-stranded DNA, actin, bovine serum albumin, IgG), whereas 10C9 IgM kappa reacted with human IgG. The 2F7 IgM heavy-chain variable region (VH) showed a 95% nucleotide homology with a previously sequenced VHIII germline gene, hv3019b9, whereas the 10C9 IgM VH showed a 95% homology with a previously sequenced VHIV germline gene, VH4.21. Use of minimally modified VH genes and demonstration of reactivity with chronically present antigens (ie, actin, HIV-1 gp 160, or human IgG) suggests that B cells in HIV-1-infected individuals proliferating in response to chronic antigenic stimulation may be at increased risk for lymphomagenesis.