Pathogenic anti-DNA antibodies expressed in systemic lupus erythematosis bind DNA mainly through electrostatic interactions between the positively charged Arg residues of the antibody complementarity determining region (CDR) and the negatively charged phosphate groups of DNA. The importance of Arg in CDR3 for DNA binding has been shown in mice with transgenes coding for anti-DNA VH regions; there is also a close correlation between arginines in CDR3 of antibodies and DNA binding. Codons for Arg can readily be formed by V(D)J rearrangement; thereby, antibodies that bind DNA are part of the preimmune repertoire. Anti-DNAs in healthy mice are regulated by receptor editing, a mechanism that replaces κ light (L) chains compatible with DNA binding with κ L chains that harbor aspartic residues. This negatively charged amino acid is thought to neutralize Arg sites in the VH. Editing by replacement is allowed at the κ locus, because the rearranged VJ is nested between unrearranged Vs and Js. However, neither λ nor heavy (H) chain loci are organized so as to allow such second rearrangements. In this study, we analyze regulation of anti-DNA H chains in mice that lack the κ locus, κ-/κ- mice. These mice show that the endogenous preimmune repertoire does indeed include a high frequency of antibodies with Arg in their CDR3s (putative anti-DNAs) and they are associated mainly with the editor L chain λx. The editing mechanisms in the case of λ-expressing B cells include L chain allelic inclusion and VH replacement.
Natural Sciences in General