Nucleobindin (Nuc) is a DNA- and calcium-binding protein that was originally identified as an anti-DNA antibody-enhancing factor in MRL/MpJ-lpr/lpr (MRL/lpr) mice. In MRL/lpr mice, both expression of Nuc mRNA in enlarged lymph nodes and serum concentration of Nuc protein are shown to increase as disease progresses. Administration of recombinant (r) Nuc to young MRL/MpJ- +/+ and normal BALB/c mice leads to augmentation or induction of IgG anti-double-stranded (ds) DNA autoantibodies. In this study, spleen cells prepared from MRL/lpr mice were found to show a proliferative response to rNuc, indicating existence of T cells that are specific to this autoantigen in peripheral lymphoid tissues. Furthermore, CD4 + T cell lines were generated from a BALB/c mouse that had been producing anti-dsDNA antibodies as a result of repeated injections of rNuc. These T cell lines were confirmed to be autoreactive, because they proliferated in culture with syngeneic but not with allogeneic spleen cells without addition of any exogenous antigens. Their proliferation was enhanced by rNuc, and inhibited by an anti-MHC class II monoclonal antibody. Upon in vivo inoculation, these T cells provided help for rNuc-injected BALB/c mice to produce anti-DNA antibodies. These results suggest that Nuc is able to activate autoreactive peripheral T cells through an MHC-class II pathway leading to acceleration or induction of anti-DNA antibody production when it is excessively produced in lupus-prone mice or experimentally administered into normal mice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy