Patients with SLE develop IgM autoantibodies to different isoforms of CD45, the major surface membrane protein tyrosine phosphatase on lymphocytes and other nucleated hemopoietic cells. Because such autoantibodies could have a potential role in the development of immune dysfunction in this disorder, we performed a series of experiments to characterize their antigenic specificity further. Blots of recombinant E. coli fusion proteins encoded by exons 3-7 of the p220 and p180 isoforms were uniformly non-reactive with SLE IgM, suggesting that anti-CD45 autoantibodies in SLE are directed against conformational and/or carbohydrate epitopes, rather than linear polypeptide epitopes. This issue was examined further using chemically and enzymatically modified CD45 purified from T cells by lectin affinity chromatography as substrates. Treatment of CD45 with 25 mM sodium-m-periodate, sufficient to abrogate binding to various lectins, abolished the reactivity with SLE anti-CD45 autoantibodies. On the other hand, digestion of CD45 with neuraminidase enhanced the binding of anti-CD45 autoantibodies from some of the SLE sera. This result probably reflects decreased steric hindrance or charge repulsion because the binding of mouse monoclonal antibodies directed against linear polypeptide epitopes of CD45 was similarly enhanced. Digestion of CD45 with N-glycosidase F had no effect on autoantibody staining. Taken together, these data suggest that IgM anti-CD45 autoantibodies in SLE recognize non-sialylated carbohydrate determinants in the highly O-glycosylated polymorphic domains of CD45.
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus