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Virology. 1985 Jul 30;144(2):468-80.

Presence of circulating antibodies against gag-gene MuLV proteins in patients with autoimmune connective tissue disorders.


An immunoblotting procedure using viral proteins from purified murine sarcoma virus or MSV-(MLV) has been developed to characterize antiviral antibodies in sera from patients with autoimmune connective tissue disorders. Fifty-eight sera with anti-Sm, anti-RNP, anti-SS-B (La), and other undefined specificities were found to react with several major viral polypeptide bands. Most of them corresponded to gag-gene-encoded products: pr65gag, p40gag, p30, p15, p12 and p10. Other bands with molecular weights averaging 90K, 60K, 45K, and 28K were recognized by a few sera. Immunological specificity of the reaction was assessed by reproducing the tests with IgG purified from sera and from corresponding F(ab')2 fragments. Moreover, the specificity of the reaction with gag proteins was confirmed by repeating the tests with p30 and p15 prior purified by immunoprecipitation with anti-p30 and anti-p15 goat sera. Furthermore, the gag polypeptides were recognized by human sera by replacing MSV-(MLV) by three other murine retroviruses of different origin. An indirect confirmation of these results was obtained by applying this method to sera of MRL lpr/lpr mice which develop an autoimmune syndrome comparable to that of human systemic lupus erythematosus. In agreement with previously published results (C. Rordorf, C. Gambke, and J. Gordon (1983), J. Immunol. Methods 59, 105-112), we found that anti-gag-gene antibodies were present in the sera of individual mice. Patterns of reactivity were found to vary with the age of the animals. No retroviral polypeptide was significantly detected in the great majority (80%) of sera from normal donors. However, 5 out of 25 sera showed faint bands although to a lesser extent than pathological sera. These five sera also reacted with HeLa cell purified HnRNPs, suggesting that their normal status should be reconsidered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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