IgG antibodies from patients with bullous pemphigoid bind to fusion proteins encoded by BPAg1 cDNA.
Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is an autoimmune blistering skin disease characterized in part by the presence of circulating and tissue-bound IgG antibodies directed against the epidermal basement membrane zone. IgG from over 95% of patients with BP have been shown to immunoprecipitate a 230-kD epidermal protein, BPAg1, which has been cloned and sequenced. Although sera from almost all patients with BP react with the 230-kD BP antigen the specific epitope(s) of BPAg1 that IgG binds is not known. We have generated fusion proteins from the 230-kD BP antigen cDNA and analyzed sera from patients with BP for binding to these fusion proteins by immunoblot. Sera from 21 of 30 (70%) patients with BP reacted with FP3A (amino acid 873-1193) compared to four of 13 (30%) normal subjects (p < 0.02). Sera from 10 of 30 (33%) patients reacted with FP7 (AA1623-1812) and to FP3 (AA1003-1193), compared to one of 22 (5%) and 0 of 19 (0%) controls, respectively. No significant reactivity was noted against two other fusion proteins (FP6, FP9). Twenty-four of 30 (80%) patients with BP reacted to at least one of three fusion proteins (FP3, FP3A, FP7) compared to three of 11 (27%) of the control subjects (p < 0.003). Fusion proteins FP3, FP3A, and FP7 are at the amino- or carboxyl-terminal regions of the putative central alpha-helical coiled-coil rod domain of BPAg1, which has been postulated to be involved in the self-aggregation of BPAg1. These findings demonstrate that patients with bullous pemphigoid react with multiple regions of BPAg1 and suggest that part of the pathologic consequences of these auto-antibodies in patients with bullous pemphigoid may be by the disruption of the normal self-aggregation of the BPAg1.
Miller, JE; Rico, MJ; Hall, RP
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