Autoantibody reactive with three classes of RNA polymerases in sera from patients with systemic sclerosis

J Clin Invest. 1993 Apr;91(4):1399-404. doi: 10.1172/JCI116343.


We have identified a novel autoantibody reactive with all three classes of RNA polymerases, well-characterized nuclear enzymes, in sera from patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). After incubation with [35S]methionine-labeled HeLa cell extracts, 14 of 275 SSc sera immunoprecipitated 12 or 14 proteins with similar molecular weights as those of several subunit proteins of eukaryotic RNA polymerases I, II, and III. Purified IgG from these two types of sera inhibited RNA transcription catalyzed by RNA polymerases I, II, and III in vitro. Immunoblot analysis using RNA polymerase-enriched fraction showed that the majority of these sera reacted with 42- or 25-kD protein. Anti-RNA polymerase antibody was highly specific to SSc, especially to diffuse cutaneous SSc. Clinical features associated with this antibody included a high frequency of heart and kidney involvement and a poor survival rate at 5 yr after first visit. These findings indicate that the autoantibody to three classes of RNA polymerases is a new marker for a unique subset of diffuse cutaneous SSc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / immunology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Heart Diseases / blood
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Kidney Diseases / blood
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / blood*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / mortality
  • Skin Diseases / blood
  • Skin Diseases / complications
  • Survival Rate


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Autoantibodies
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases