Bullous pemphigoid and herpes gestationis autoantibodies recognize a common non-collagenous site on the BP180 ectodomain

G J Giudice, D J Emery, B D Zelickson, G J Anhalt, Z Liu, L A Diaz
Journal of Immunology 1993 November 15, 151 (10): 5742-50
Bullous pemphigoid (BP) and herpes gestationis (HG) are skin diseases characterized by subepidermal blisters and autoantibodies against two hemidesmosomal Ag, i.e., BP230 and BP180. Based on sequence analysis the BP180 Ag was predicted to be a transmembrane protein with a long extracellular collagenous domain. In the present investigation fusion proteins encompassing various segments of the BP180 Ag were expressed in a prokaryotic system and assayed by immunoblotting and immunoadsorption against a panel of BP, HG and control sera. One antigenic site, comprising 14 amino acids of the BP180 noncollagenous (NC) 16A domain, was shown to be recognized by 60% of BP sera and by 63% of HG sera tested. 73% (11/15) of BP sera and 100% (8/8) of HG sera reacted with at least one of three BP180 fusion proteins representing various portions of the NC16A domain. Immunoadsorption analysis identified this region of BP180 as an immunodominant site. Using an affinity purified rabbit antiserum raised against a recombinant form of BP180, this BP/HG autoantibody-reactive region was localized to the epidermal basal lamina immediately adjacent to the hemidesmosome. These findings confirmed the predicted type II transmembrane orientation of the BP180 Ag. Thus, the long, C-terminal collagenous domain of this basal keratinocyte protein projects into the basal lamina and may function as a site of interaction with an extracellular matrix component. It is proposed that autoantibodies directed against the well-defined antigenic site on the BP180 ectodomain may play an initiatory role in subepidermal blister formation in BP and HG patients.

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