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J Invest Dermatol. 1993 Nov;101(5):738-43.

Nicein (BM-600) in junctional epidermolysis bullosa: polyclonal antibodies provide new clues for pathogenic role.

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Laboratoire de Recherches Dermatologiques, UFR de Médecine, Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France.


We have raised polyclonal antibodies against each of three subunits of the new basement membrane component nicein (formerly BM-600), the antigen recognized by the monoclonal antibody GB3 (Biochem Biophys Acta 942:45-56, 1988). Preparation of such antibodies was achieved from gel electrophoresis purification of nicein isolated by immuno-affinity chromatography. These antibodies were reactive with each transblotted denatured nicein subunit and recognized the native protein both in cultured keratinocytes and in all normal human basement membranes where the GB3 antigen is located. A reciprocal immuno-cross-reactivity was detected with the antibodies directed against the 100-kD and 150-kD (sometimes resolved as a 146-150-kD doublet) subunits of nicein, showing that they share some identical epitopes. In tissues and keratinocyte cultures from patients with the Herlitz form of junctional epidermolysis bullosa (H-JEB), GB3 is unable to recognize nicein, and the question arises whether this is due to an absence of synthesis or a structural abnormality of the protein. We report here that the polyclonal antibody directed against the 150-kD subunit of nicein binds its antigen in H-JEB patients (although usually less intensely than in control skin), whereas the other two antibodies either do not recognize or recognize only weakly their respective antigen subunits. These data suggest that nicein is present but structurally altered in basement membranes from H-JEB tissues. Furthermore, in non-Herlitz junctional and dystrophic types of epidermolysis bullosa, all three polyclonal antibodies recognize their antigens normally. Consequently, such antibodies should serve as potentially useful molecular tools for studying the expression of nicein in H-JEB.

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