Standardization of anti-DNA antibody assays.
Antibodies to DNA (anti-DNA) are the serological hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus and represent important biomarkers for clinical and research purposes. These antibodies are part of a family of antibodies to nucleosomes and bind to conserved sites widely present on DNA. While the value of anti-DNA as a biomarker is well established, the assay for these antibodies has involved a variety of DNA sources and systems to detect DNA-anti-DNA interactions. The influence of these variations on antibody detection has complicated assay standardization. As an antigen, DNA has unique features since it is a highly charged polymer that has structural heterogeneity. This heterogeneity can affect antigenicity which can vary on the basis of DNA origin, size, conformation and mobility. In addition, as a polymer, DNA can promote patterns of antibody binding based on monogamous or bivalent interaction which require an extended polynucleotide structure. Understanding the nature of DNA as an antigen can facilitate interpretation of serological tests and underpin efforts at better standardization.
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