Autoantibodies reactive against a shared, conserved epitope on the ribosomal phosphoproteins P0, P1, and P2 occur in approximately 15% of patients with SLE and are relatively specific for this disease. To determine whether anti-P antibodies occur in murine lupus, serum from MRL/lpr and NZB/W F1 mice were analyzed by immunoblotting as well as by ELISA using a synthetic peptide Ag. Of those analyzed, 4 of 35 (11%) MRL/lpr, 0 of 25 NZB/W F1 and 0 of 13 control NIH/Swiss mice had anti-P antibodies. Anti-P specificity was confirmed by immunoblotting of ribosomal proteins separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and by inhibition of anti-P reactivity on immunoblots with the synthetic peptide Ag. These findings indicate a striking similarity in the frequency and fine epitope specificity of anti-P antibodies in humans and MRL/lpr mice with SLE.

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