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Autoimmune Diseases
Volume 2012, Article ID 683829, 7 pages
Research Article

Role of Structure-Based Changes due to Somatic Mutation in Highly Homologous DNA-Binding and DNA-Hydrolyzing Autoantibodies Exemplified by A23P Substitution in the VH Domain

1State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Serpuhov District Obolensk 142279, Russia
2Institute of Immunological Engineering, Lyubuchany 142380, Russia
3Shemyakin & Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Miklukho-Maklaya Street 16/10, Moscow 117997, Russia

Received 4 June 2012; Accepted 27 September 2012

Academic Editor: Hiroyuki Nishimura

Copyright © 2012 A. V. Kozyr et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Anti-DNA autoantibodies are responsible for tissue injury in lupus. A subset of DNA-specific antibodies capable of DNA cleavage can be even more harmful after entering the living cells by destroying nuclear DNA. Origins of anti-DNA autoantibodies are not fully understood, and the mechanism of induction of DNA-cleaving activity remains speculative. The autoantibody BV04-01 derived from lupus-prone mouse is the only DNA-hydrolyzing immunoglobulin with known 3D structure. Identification and analysis of antibodies homologous to BV04-01 may help to understand molecular bases and origins of DNA-cleaving activity of autoantibodies. BLAST search identified murine anti-DNA autoantibody MRL-4 with sequences of variable region genes highly homologous to those of autoantibody BV04-01. Despite significant homology to BV04-01, not only MRL-4 had no DNA-cleaving activity, but also reversion of its unusual P23 mutation to the germline alanine resulted in a dramatic loss of affinity to DNA. Contrary to this effect, transfer of the P23 mutation to the BV04-01 has resulted in a significant drop in DNA binding and almost complete loss of catalytic activity. In the present paper we analyzed the properties of two homologous autoantibodies and mutants thereof and discussed the implications of unusual somatic mutations for the development of autoantibodies with DNA-binding and DNA-hydrolyzing activity.