Scand J Immunol 2002 Aug;56(2):168-173
Gordon T, Kinoshita G, Cavill D, Keech C, Farris A, Kaufman K, McCluskey J, Purcell A.
Intermolecular spreading of humoral autoimmunity to different components of the Ro (SS-A) and La (SS-B) ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex has been reported following immunization with a single component of the complex.
Although the immune response to the immunizing antigen is polyclonal and diversified, little is known about the specificity of the recruited autoimmune responses to the endogenous Ro and La antigens which drive B-cell spreading.
To determine the specificity of intermolecular spreading to La, we examined sera from 52 kDa Ro (Ro52)- and 60 kDa Ro (Ro60)-immunized C3H/HeJ mice for reactivity with recombinant fragments spanning endogenous mouse (m)La by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblotting.
Sera from mice primed and boosted with recombinant Ro52 and Ro60 showed reactivity restricted to the COOH-terminal fragment of mLa (aa361-415).
The recruited anti-La response was species-specific, cross-reacting weakly with the corresponding region on the human La molecule, and was abrogated by the preabsorption of the Ro-immune sera with mLa 361-415.
Analogous experiments using recombinant mRo60 fragments spanning the mRo60 molecule revealed a similar pattern of oligoclonality in the specificity of anti-Ro60 autoimmunity following active immunization with La and Ro52.
These results suggest that intermolecular-intrastructural T-B help is limiting in this model, and reveal unsuspected immunodominance of selected Ro-La epitopes in the spreading of the autoantibody response to these structures.
The focusing of the recruited autoantibody response to these COOH-terminal regions of the Ro and La polypeptides may also reflect the surface accessibility of these regions in La-Ro RNP.