Myositis autoantibody inhibits histidyl-tRNA synthetase: a model for autoimmunity

Nature. 1983 Jul;304(5922):177-9. doi: 10.1038/304177a0.


In autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), autoantibodies are generated against a variety of macromolecules. Myositis is a human autoimmune disease characterized by weakness and wasting of muscle. In American studies, antibodies directed against soluble cellular constituents were detected by immunodiffusion in about 60% of cases; the commonest of these, found in 25% of patients, was antibody to the Jo-1 antigen. An antibody system referred to as PL-1 was recognized at a similar frequency in a series of patients studied at Hammersmith Hospital, London. We show here that this system is identical with the Jo-1 system and demonstrate that the antigen is a polypeptide of molecular weight (Mr) 50,000. The protein is immunoprecipitated with tRNA His and appears to be histidyl-tRNA synthetase. The identity of the Jo-1 antigen, the first of the RNA-associated antigens familiar in autoimmune disease to be characterized as a specific enzyme, suggests a model for virus involvement in autoantibody generation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / immunology*
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Autoantibodies*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Dermatomyositis / immunology
  • HeLa Cells / immunology
  • Histidine-tRNA Ligase / immunology*
  • Histidine-tRNA Ligase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Molecular Weight
  • Myositis / immunology*


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Autoantibodies
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases
  • Histidine-tRNA Ligase