Autoantibodies to protein transport and messenger RNA processing pathways: endosomes, lysosomes, Golgi complex, proteasomes, assemblyosomes, exosomes, and GW bodies

Clin Immunol. 2004 Jan;110(1):30-44. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2003.10.005.


Over 50 years ago the lupus erythematosus (LE) cell phenomenon was described and this was quickly followed by the introduction of the LE cell test and indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) to detect antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in clinical laboratories. Recently, attention has turned to the identification of the autoantigens that bind to cytoplasmic organelles such as the Golgi complex, endosomes and other "cytoplasmic somes". Three endosome autoantigens include early endosome antigen 1 (EEA1, 160 kDa), cytoplasmic linker protein-170 (CLIP-170, 170 kDa), and lysobisphosphatidic acid (LBPA). Antibodies to EEA1 were seen in a variety of conditions but approximately 40% of the patients had a neurological disease. Despite the prominence of lysosomes in cells and tissues, reports of autoantibodies are limited to the lysosomal antigen h-LAMP-2 and the cytoplasmic antineutrophil antibodies (cANCA). Autoantigens in the Golgi complex include giantin/macrogolgin, golgin-245, golgin 160, golgin-97, golgin 95/gm130, and golgin-67. More recently, there has been an interest in autoantibodies that bind components of the "SMN complex" or the "assemblyosome". Arginine/glycine (RG)-rich domains in components of the SMN complex interact with Sm, like-Sm (LSm), fibrillarin, RNA helicase A (Gu), and coilin proteins, all of which are antigen targets in a variety of diseases. More recently, components of a novel cytoplasmic structure named GW bodies (GWBs) have been identified as targets of human autoantibodies. Components of GWBs include GW182, a unique mRNA-binding protein, like Sm proteins (LSms), and decapping (hDcp1) and exonuclease (Xrn) enzymes. Current evidence suggests that GWBs are involved in the cytoplasmic processing of mRNAs. Autoantibodies to the "cytoplasmic somes" are relatively uncommon and serological tests to detect most of them are not widely available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / immunology*
  • Endosomes / immunology*
  • Golgi Apparatus / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / immunology*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / immunology*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Protein Transport / immunology
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex