We report the isolation and characterization of a mouse autoanti-idiotypic mAb (D7.4 IgG2a), which is directed against a major public Id (A52 IgG2b) in the murine and human autoimmune response to DNA. The natural anti-Id mAb has been produced in the course of the SLE-like disease in a female NZB/NZW F1 mouse and showed a dual specificity (epibody activity) for the public Id (A52) and for the autoantigen (DNA). The two binding activities were shown to reside in the Fab portion of the epibody and were highly specific for their respective Ag. A complete nucleotide sequence analysis of the D7.4 H and L chain V-region genes combined with computer comparisons to available Ig sequences may suggest a charge interaction between the H chain CDR3 segments of the Id and anti-Id antibodies. The D7.4 epibody may be a component of the self-binding, idiotypically connected network of natural antibodies. Alternatively, it could be elicited against the potentially pathogenic, DNA-containing immune complexes in order to facilitate their removal from the circulation of diseased individuals.

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