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J Biol Chem. 1998 Jul 3;273(27):17122-7.

The fragile-X-related gene FXR1 is a human autoantigen processed during apoptosis.

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Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Cádiz, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain.


We describe a new human autoimmune antigen in a patient suffering from scleroderma with high levels of antibodies to nucleolus and cytoplasmic antigens. Using a Chinese hamster ovary cell expression library, we have shown that this antigen corresponds to the autosomal Fragile-X-related gene FXR1. The deduced amino acid sequence from the hamster cDNA is 97, 98, and 58% homologous to the human, mouse, and Xenopus laevis FXR1 genes, respectively. Expression of the hamster cDNA clone in Escherichia coli and antibody production indicates unequivocally the location of the FXR1 protein in the cytoplasm of hamster cells. Affinity chromatography followed by immunofluorescence microscopy analysis and immunoblots demonstrated the presence of autoimmune IgGs to FXR1 in the scleroderma patient. Immunolabeling studies in Jurkat cells, induced to apoptosis by anti-Fas/APO1 serum, indicated that the FXR1 antigens were clearly displaced from their original cytoplasmic location to several punctuated foci, resembling the bleb-like membranous structures characteristic of cells at certain stages of apoptosis. This phenomenon could be part of a putative mechanism in which the FXR1 protein is presented as a target for the autoimmune response in humans.

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