A cloned lymphoblast cell line, hRF-1, that secreted human monoclonal IgG4 rheumatoid factor autoantibody was produced by Epstein-Barr virus transformation of lymphocytes from rheumatoid arthritis synovium. The binding of hRF-1 rheumatoid factor to IgG globulins of different mammalian species was similar to the binding specificity of Staphylococcus aureus protein A (SpA) and to antibodies found in the sera from patients with rheumatoid arthritis. hRF-1 also had the same binding pattern to human IgG subclasses as SpA. Direct competition was observed between SpA and hRF-1 in binding IgG Fc. These results provide evidence for structural homology between a bacterial Fc receptor protein (SpA) and the monoclonal IgG rheumatoid factor.

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