The M2 autoantigen of central nervous system myelin, a glycoprotein present in oligodendrocyte membrane

Clin Exp Immunol. 1986 Nov;66(2):423-34.


Autoantibodies with in-vitro demyelinating capacity induced in Hartley and strain 13 guinea pigs with homologous central nervous system (CNS) tissue were used to characterize the target autoantigen M2. Using the Dot Immunobinding technique, M2 was found to be a component of CNS myelin different from basic protein (BP) and from cerebroside. The expression of M2 on oligodendrocytes, cells known to produce CNS myelin, also confirmed that M2 was a component of CNS myelin. Furthermore, the autoradiography of immunoprecipitates formed with radiolabelled guinea pig myelin and analysed in sodium dodecyl sulphate gels showed that M2 was specific to CNS myelin and absent in peripheral nervous system (PNS) myelin. On electrophoresis M2 appeared as two CNS myelin protein bands at the 27 and 54 KD molecular weight levels, distinct from the major protein bands of proteolipid and BP. M2 bands were of glycoprotein nature, as was demonstrated by affinity chromatography of CNS myelin on wheat germ agglutinin (WGA)-Sepharose. A monoclonal antibody induced by BP-free CNS glycoproteins recognized the same bands as anti-M2 serum in guinea pig CNS myelin. This would imply that both M2 bands share common determinants. M2 bands similar to the above in guinea pig were also shown in rat, rabbit and bovine CNS myelin with guinea pig antibodies. The same type of anti-M2 antibodies were induced in rabbit immunized with homologous CNS tissue. Although only a minor component of myelin, M2 is strongly immunogenic compared to BP. M2 antigen could thus be the target of chronic demyelinating processes such as experimental allergic encephalomyelitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Autoantigens / analysis*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Immune Sera / immunology
  • Myelin Basic Protein / immunology*
  • Neuroglia / immunology*
  • Oligodendroglia / immunology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / immunology
  • Rabbits
  • Rats


  • Autoantigens
  • Glycoproteins
  • Immune Sera
  • Myelin Basic Protein