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Mol Immunol. 2007 Jan;44(4):541-57. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Mapping and molecular characterization of novel monoclonal antibodies to conformational epitopes on NH2 and COOH termini of mammalian tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase reveal link of the epitopes to aggregation and Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Urology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Tarry Research Building 16/759, 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (TrpRS) is an interferon-induced phosphoprotein with autoantigenic and cytokine activities detected in addition to its canonical function in tRNA aminoacylation. The availability of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for TrpRS is important for development of tools for TrpRS monitoring. A molecular characterization of two mAbs raised in mice, using purified, enzymatically active bovine TrpRS as the inoculating antigen, is presented in this report. These IgG1 antibodies are specific for bovine, human and rabbit but not E. coli TrpRS. Immunoreactivity and specificity of mAbs were verified with purified recombinant hTrpRS expressed in E. coli and TrpRS-derived synthetic peptides. One of the mAbs, 9D7 is able to disaggregate fibrils formed by Ser32-Tyr50 TrpRS-peptide. Epitope mapping revealed that disaggregation ability correlates with binding of 9D7 to this peptide in ELISA and immunocytochemistry. This epitope covers a significant part of N-terminal extension that suggested to be proteolytically deleted in vivo from the full-length TrpRS whereas remaining COOH-fragment possesses a cytokine activity. For epitope mapping of mAb 6C10, the affinity selected phage-displayed peptides were used as a database for prediction of conformational discontinuous epitopes within hTrpRS crystal structure. Using computer algorithm, this epitope is attributed to COOH-terminal residues Asp409-Met425. In immunoblotting, the 6C10 mAb reacts preferably with (i) oligomer than monomer, and (ii) bound than free TrpRS forms. The hTrpRS expression was shown to correlate with growth rates of neuroblastoma and pancreatic cancer cells. Immunohistochemically both mAbs revealed extracellular plaque-like aggregates in hippocampus of Alzheimer's disease brain.

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