Tropomyosin is an alpha-helical coiled-coil protein with structural similarities to the streptococcal M protein. In order to show serologic cross-reactivity between streptococcal M proteins and tropomyosin, we selected from a panel of murine mAb those which reacted with M proteins and tropomyosins in the ELISA. Western blots were used to study the reactions of each mAb with human and rabbit cardiac and rabbit skeletal tropomyosins. The antibodies were further characterized for their reactions with the additional autoantigens myosin, actin, keratin, and DNA. Five mAb were found which reacted with either PepM5 or ColiM6 protein and tropomyosin in Western blots or ELISA. Two of the tropomyosin positive mAb were also antinuclear antibodies and were inhibited with DNA. In Western blots of cardiac tropomyosins, the mAb reacted with either the 70-kDa dimer of tropomyosin, the 35-kDa monomer, or both. Some differences were observed in the reactions of the mAb with the different tropomyosins in Western blots. The heart cross-reactive epitopes shared between M proteins and tropomyosin were in most instances shared with cardiac myosin. Differences were observed among the reactions of the mAb with the different tropomyosins. This report constitutes the first evidence of serologic cross-reactivity between streptococcal M proteins and tropomyosins.

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