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J Biol Chem. 2000 May 26;275(21):16002-6.

The alpha 5 chain of type IV collagen is the target of IgG autoantibodies in a novel autoimmune disease with subepidermal blisters and renal insufficiency.

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Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Jefferson Medical College, and Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


We describe a novel autoimmune disease characterized by severe subepidermal bullous eruptions and renal insufficiency with IgG autoantibodies directed against the NC1 domain of the alpha5(IV) collagen chain. In vivo deposits of IgG and C3 were found along the dermal-epidermal junction of skin lesions. The identity of the target antigen was determined by immunochemical analyses of candidate antigens using the patients' autoantibodies. The patients' IgG autoantibodies reacted with a 185-kDa polypeptide that was distinguished from the known autoantigens of the extracellular matrix including type XVII collagen, type VII collagen, or the alpha3, beta3, and gamma2 chains of laminin 5. Preincubation of the serum with recombinant alpha5(IV)NC1 domain of type IV collagen abolished immunoreactivity with the 185-kDa antigen. The serum reacted specifically with the alpha5(IV)NC1, among the six NC1 domains of type IV collagen, by Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analyses. The patients' autoantibodies reacted with normal skin and renal glomerulus but not with skin and glomerulus of a patient with Alport syndrome in which the basement membranes are devoid of the alpha5(IV) collagen chain. This study provided for the first time unambiguous evidence for the alpha5(IV) collagen chain as the target antigen in a novel autoimmune disease characterized by skin and renal involvement.

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