Immunoglobulin G from a patient convalescing from acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN) bound specific antigenic sites in early APSGN glomeruli. A streptococcal cytoplasmic antigen (preabsorbing antigen, PA-Ag), could selectively preabsorb fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled IgG and prevented glomerular staining. The antigen was purified and identified as an M(r) approximately 43,000 protein with a pI of 4.7 that strongly activated complement C3 (N. Yoshizawa, S. Oshima, I. Sagel, J. Shimizu, and G. Treser, 1992, J. Immunol. 148, 3110-3116). In the present study, a nephritogenic antigen was purified by affinity chromatography using APSGN IgG-immobilized Sepharose followed by chromatography on an anion-exchange resin. Purification was monitored by ELISA and Western blotting using the binding characteristics of the specific antibodies present in APSGN serum. The molecular weight of the purified antigen, named nephritis-associated plasmin receptor (NAPlr), was an M(r) approximately 43,000 protein and the internal amino acid sequence was found to be homologous to those of the plasmin receptor (Plr) of group A streptococci strain 64/14 and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) from Bacillus subtilis. The purified NAPlr exhibited GAPDH activity and plasmin(ogen) binding activity. Using FITC-labeled rabbit anti-NAPlr, the antigen was found to be present in the glomeruli of 22 of 22 patients in the early stage of APSGN. Bacterial Plr was also demonstrated in human APSGN glomeruli for the first time using monoclonal antibody to the recombinant Plr protein. Antibody to NAPlr was found in the sera of 46 of 50 (92%) patients within 3 months of onset. These results led us to speculate that NAPlr bound to the glomeruli may contribute to the pathogenesis of APSGN via plasmin and complement activation.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.