Anti-SS-A/Ro autoantibodies are found in the sera of patients with Sjogren's syndrome (SS) and SLE. In the course of analyzing 61 SS patients for their autoantibody profiles, we found that 42 were positive for anti-SS-A by double diffusion in agarose and demonstrated precipitin lines identical to that produced by a prototype anti-SS-A serum. Further analysis of these SS-A antibody-positive sera by Western blotting of cell extracts revealed that 21 sera reacted with two proteins of 60 and 52 kD, 13 sera reacted with 52-kD protein, two detected only 60 kD, while six were nonreactive. Affinity-purified anti-60-kD and anti-52-kD antibodies reacted exclusively with their corresponding antigens. Partial proteolysis of these proteins did not reveal common degradation fragments. Thus the 52- and 60-kD proteins were found to be antigenically and apparently structurally distinct from each other. They were also distinct from 48-kD SS-B/La protein. In immunoprecipitation using labeled cell extracts, affinity-purified anti-52-kD antibodies brought down the 52-kD protein as well as the 60-kD band. In [32P]orthophosphate-labeled HeLa cell extract both antibodies precipitated the same spectrum of small RNAs (hYl-5). In indirect immunofluorescence, anti-52-kD and anti-60-kD antibodies immunolocalized in similar subcellular structures and showed similar punctate nuclear staining patterns. Western blot analysis revealed that both proteins were present in lymphocytic as well as epithelial human cell lines tested. The data above define a new antigen of 52 kD which is another component of the SS-A particle and is associated in complex formation with the previously reported 60-kD protein.

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