Two monoclonal anti-idiotopic antibodies (anti-Id) were raised in mice against a human monoclonal IgA,K displaying a monospecific anti-tubulin (anti-alpha- and anti-beta-tubulin) activity. One anti-Id (IgG,K) recognized a private idiotope, TID 3.2, present only on the IgA,K immunogen, close to or within the antigen-combining site. The other anti-Id (IgM,K) recognized a recurrent idiotope, TID 7.1, outside the paratope and present in normal human and BALB/c mouse serum, on 2 of 11 polyspecific human monoclonal immunoglobulins and on 6 of 11 murine natural monoclonal auto-antibodies exhibiting a widespread anticytoskeletal protein-binding activity. Both the idiotopes were absent on two induced anti-tubulin antibodies exhibiting a monospecific anti-alpha- and anti-beta-tubulin specificity. Utilizing competitive and additivity immunoassays, we could show that the polyspecific human and mouse anticytoskeletal antibodies tested, whether bearing the TID 7.1 Id or not, appeared to compete in variable degrees for epitopes on the tubulin molecule recognized by the monoclonal IgA,K but distinct from the epitopes recognized by the induced monospecific anti-tubulin antibodies. The high incidence of the recurrent TID 7.1 idiotope in man and mouse suggests an important physiologic and perhaps regulatory function of this idiotope. Furthermore our data suggest that a restricted family of germ-line genes, highly conserved during phylogeny, may encode for these idiotope-bearing Ig molecules.

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