Evidence has been obtained previously indicating that the antigens reacting with the anti-Sm and anti-RNP sera are present as a large complex, and similar protein bands are obtained with both types of sera. Inthe present study, it proved possible to break up this complex using SDS treatment before immunoprecipitation. After such treatment, different protein bands were immunoprecipitated by the two antisera; Sm determinants resided, at least partially, in a 19-kd protein. Sequential immunoprecipitation with and without prior SDS treatment provided further evidence for these specificities and suggested that two classes of particles exist in different tissues, one containing proteins immunoreactive with the Sn and RNP antisera and the other containing proteins immunoreactive only with the Sm antisera. The latter particle contained all the bands seen with the first type except for the absence of the 19-kd band. Nitrocellulose blot analyses confirmed the assignment of the 25- and 16-kd polypeptides to Sm antigenic determinants; analyses for RNP proved les informative by this technique. Some differences in the banding patterns were obtained using cells from different species: the 25-kd Sm band was usually double in human cells and single in rat and rabbit tissue. Methods of extraction also caused some differences which was especially true for the rabbit thymus extract widely used for Sm and RNP studies. Additional immunoreactive bands at 68 and 70 kd also were detected when the Sm and RNP antisera were used in nitrocellulose blot analyses. Furthermore, evidence was obtained for a number of other antibodies in lupus sera which have not as yet been detected by serological methods.

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