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Mol Biol Rep. 1996;23(3-4):253-60.

The interaction of C-reactive protein and serum amyloid P component with nuclear antigens.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Albuquerque, NM, USA.


The pentraxins are a family of proteins characterized by cyclic pentameric structure, calcium-dependent ligand binding and sequence homology. The two main representatives of this family are the serum proteins, C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid P component (SAP). In man CRP is an acute phase reactant which increases up to 1,000 fold during the acute phase response whereas SAP is a constitutive protein expressed at about 30 micrograms/ml. These proteins activate complement through the classical pathway and participate in opsonization of particulate antigens and bacteria. In the past several years it has been determined that both of these pentraxins interact with nuclear antigens including chromatin and small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs). Both CRP and SAP have nuclear transport signals which facilitate their entry into the nuclei of intact cells. Furthermore, these pentraxins have been shown to affect the clearance of nuclear antigens in vivo. It is now believed that one of the major functions of the pentraxins could be to interact with the nuclear antigens released from apoptotic or necrotic cells. This interaction could mitigate against deposition of these antigens in tissue and autoimmune reactivity.

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