Transgenic mice were generated that express both the H and L chain genes derived from a hybridoma secreting an IgG2a mAb specific for ds- and ssDNA. This hybridoma is derived from a lupus mouse and can accelerate nephritis in young NZB x NZW F1 female mice and induce clinical nephritis in BALB/c mice. Some transgenic B cells did not exhibit allelic exclusion; they expressed both transgene-derived IgG and endogenous IgM intracellularly. Most of the B cells in transgenic mice expressed endogenous IgM, some of them expressed low levels of IgG on cell membranes. The transgenic mice, created in a strain not prone to SLE, expressed elevated serum IgG anti-DNA, and some developed clinical nephritis. The affinity of the spontaneously secreted IgG antibodies for dsDNA were similar in nephritic NZB x NZW F1 and transgenic mice. In contrast to the nontransgenic littermates, immunization of transgenic mice with murine DNA further enhanced serum levels of IgG anti-DNA in transgenic mice. Therefore, expression of transgene-encoded IgG anti-DNA mainly in the secreted form does not provide the signals necessary for allelic exclusion or self-tolerance. Expression of this Ig is sufficient to induce a mild form of autoimmune disease.

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