-Actinin Immunization Elicits Anti-Chromatin Autoimmunity in Nonautoimmune Mice

Deocharan, B.; Zhou, Z.; Antar, K.; Siconolfi-Baez, L.; Angeletti, R.H.; Hardin, J.; Putterman, C.

The Journal of Immunology 179(2): 1313-1321


DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.179.2.1313
Accession: 068490704

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Anti-dsDNA Abs are characteristic of lupus and can be found deposited in the kidneys of lupus mice. Previously, we have shown that pathogenic anti-dsDNA Abs as well as Ig eluted from the kidneys of nephritic lupus mice cross-react with alpha-actinin. Moreover, cross-reactivity with alpha-actinin characterizes nephritogenic anti-dsDNA Abs in humans with lupus as well. To determine whether Abs generated against alpha-actinin in vivo cross-react with nuclear Ags, we s.c. immunized 10-wk-old female BALB/c mice (and several other nonautoimmune mice strains) with alpha-actinin in adjuvant. Immunized but not control mice displayed high titers of anti-nuclear Abs and IgG anti-chromatin autoantibodies, hypergammaglobulinemia, renal Ig deposition, and proteinuria. The specificity of the anti-chromatin response was determined by Western blotting of purified chromatin with serum from alpha-actinin immunized mice. By proteomic analysis, a 25-kDa doublet band was conclusively identified as high mobility group box (HMGB) proteins 1 and 3, and a 70-kDa band was identified as heat shock protein 70 (hsp70), both of which are known antigenic targets in murine lupus. Binding to purified HMGB1 and hsp70 by immunized mice sera was confirmed by ELISA and Western blot. Immunized mice sera binding to both 25- and 70-kDa bands were significantly inhibited by alpha-actinin and chromatin. Importantly, a panel of nephritogenic mAbs had significantly higher affinity for alpha-actinin, chromatin, HMGB, and hsp70 as compared with nonpathogenic Abs, suggesting a common motif in these Ags that is targeted by pathogenic autoantibodies.