Characteristics and epitope mapping of a cloned human autoantigen La

A. D. Sturgess, M. G. Peterson, L. J. McNielage, S. Whittingham, R. L. Coppel

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The La (SS-B) polypeptide is a ribonucleoprotein against which high titer antinuclear antibodies (ANA) react in the human autoimmune disease primary Sjogren's syndrome. To identify the autoepitopes with which the ANA anti-La (anti-SS-B) reacts, we isolated a 1.4-kb cDNA clone for La from a λgt10 library made from a human Burkitt's cell line. This clone contained an open reading frame of 1065 bp, encoding a 40.1-kDa polypeptide that corresponded to the carboxyl-terminal end of the La protein. The predicted polypeptide sequence of the recombinant protein was highly charged and unrelated to any previously published sequence. We also compared this clone to a previously published cDNA sequence for La and demonstrated significant differences, particularly that the open reading frame in our cDNA continued for 926 additional bases 3' to a putative termination codon in the previously reported sequence. The recombinant La protein was expressed in Escherichia coli and tested for reactivity with 200 sera containing ANA of various specificities. Only the sera containing anti-La antibodies reacted with the cloned La. By expressing subclones of the La cDNA as fusion proteins with β-galactosidase, we have localized at least one epitope for the binding of anti-La antibodies to the carboxyl-terminal 103 amino acids of the La protein. No anti-La binding could be demonstrated to the region of the La protein that had previously been predicted to contain an autoepitope for the binding of anti-La (SS-B) antibodies. Studies of cloned autoepitopes could provide important clues to the role of ANA play in disease and lead to targeted intervention in the treatment of primary Sjogren's syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3212-3218
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

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