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J Exp Med. 2004 Feb 2;199(3):381-98.

Pathogenic profiles and molecular signatures of antinuclear autoantibodies rescued from NZM2410 lupus mice.

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  • 1Simmons Arthritis Research Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas 75390, USA.


Two outstanding questions concerning antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) in lupus involve their pathogenic potential and their molecular signatures. To address these questions, a panel of 56 antinuclear and 47 nonnuclear binding monoclonal antibodies was rescued from four seropositive NZM2410 lupus mice. The monoclonals varied in their reactivity to nucleosomes, ssDNA, dsDNA, and glomerular substrate. A large fraction of the antibodies demonstrated apparent polyreactivity (to DNA, histones, and glomerular antigens) due to bound, DNase-1 sensitive nuclear antigenic bridges. Although nephrophilic immunoglobulin (Ig) M and IgG antibodies were the most pathogenic, the dsDNA-binding antibodies were modestly so; in contrast, antinucleosome antibodies were clearly not pathogenic. Compared with the nonnuclear antigen-binding monoclonal antibodies rescued from the same mice, ANAs exhibited increased utilization of VH5/7183 genes and highly cationic heavy chain (HC) CDR3 regions. Most intriguingly, the CDR3 regions of the ANAs exhibited alternating arginine/lysine peaks at H96, H98, and H100, with neutral troughs at H95, H97, and H99. To summarize, glomerular-binding anti-dsDNA antibodies appear to be the most pathogenic variety of lupus autoantibodies. The presence of an alternating charge pattern in their HC CDR3 regions appears to be a prominent hallmark of ANAs.

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