Active Heymann nephritis of rat, an autoimmune glomerular disease, is an immunohistological, ultrastructural, and clinical model of human membranous glomerulonephritis. Both diseases in their full-blown form are characterized by (1) the formation of large, subepithelial glomerular immune deposits, which stain for IgG, C3, and membrane attack (C5b-9) components of complement and (2) the excretion of large amounts of protein in the urine (proteinuria). The target autoantigen of active Heymann nephritis is a large transmembrane renal glycoprotein with a molecular weight of approximately 600 kD, variously named gp600, gp330, LRP-2, or 'megalin'. This study was performed to identify the region in this enormously large glycoprotein that would produce full- blown active Heymann nephritis. A stable, small (60-kD) proteolytic fragment of gp600 was isolated and localized to the N-terminal end of the molecule using Western blot, sequencing, and amino acid analyses. Based on its primary structure, this fragment contains approximately 60 cysteine residues, the cross-linking of which to each other probably explains its stability. Immunization of rats with this fragment induced a full-blown disease that was comparable to the disease induced by a preparation containing the whole protein. These results indicate that this small fragment, retaining the natural disulfide bonds and probably its overall structure, contains those B and T cell epitopes that are sufficient to produce this organ-specific autoimmune disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of the American Society of Nephrology|
|State||Published - Jan 2000|
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