The IgM antibodies from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients' sera were screened for peptide hydrolyzing activity. Recovery of structurally intact IgM antibodies (Abs), in a single step, was achieved using a weak anion-exchange methacrylate monolith disk. The IgM Abs from patients' sera hydrolyzed the Pro-Phe-Arg-4-methyl-coumaryl-7-amide (PFR-MCA) substrate appreciably compared to the healthy donors. The apparent K(m) values of IgM Abs from patients' sera were between 0.4 and 0.7 mM. Furthermore, IgM Abs displayed 5 to 10-folds greater proteolysis activity than IgG Abs, recovered from the same pathological serum. The proteolysis activity, as a function, was found to be independent of IgM-RF titer value. Affinity labeling approach targeted at the catalytic site histidine was studied, using a specific irreversible inhibitor, N-α-tosyl-L-lysine chloromethyl ketone (TLCK). Despite modification of catalytic His, observation of serine protease like activity suggest presence of an atypical catalytic framework in a few pathological IgM Abs.