Clinical and immunological aspects of autoantibodies to RA33/hnRNP-A/B proteins--a link between RA, SLE and MCTD

Mol Biol Rep. 1996;23(3-4):167-71. doi: 10.1007/BF00351165.


Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) complexes are major constituents of the spliceosome. They are composed of approximately 30 different proteins which can bind to nascent pre-mRNA. Among these, the hnRNP-A/B proteins form a subgroup of highly related proteins consisting of two adjacent RNA binding domains (RBD) within the N-terminal parts, whereas the C-terminal halves contain almost 50% glycine residues. These proteins, in particular A2/RA33, are targeted by autoantibodies from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). In SLE anti-hnRNP antibodies frequently occur together with antibodies to U1 small nuclear RNP (U1-snRNP) and Sm, other proteins of the spliceosome. Preliminary epitope mapping studies have revealed major antibody binding sites in the RNA binding regions for all three diseases. Nevertheless, there is some indication of disease specific epitope recognition. Studies in animal models have demonstrated anti-RA33/hnRNP-A/B antibodies in lupus-prone mouse strains. Thus, autoantibodies to the spliceosomal hnRNP-A/B proteins are a common feature of RA, SLE, and MCTD. However, these diseases differ in their reactivities to other spliceosomal proteins, especially anti-U1 snRNP and Sm. Therefore, anti-RA33/hnRNP-A/B autoantibodies are not only valuable diagnostic markers but may also allow additional insights into the pathogenesis of rheumatic autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoimmunity
  • Biomarkers
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group A-B*
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease / immunology*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / immunology*
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear / immunology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group A-B
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear
  • hnRNP A2