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A Novel Centromere Monospecific Serum to a Human Autoepitope on the Histone H3-like Protein CENP-A

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A Novel Centromere Monospecific Serum to a Human Autoepitope on the Histone H3-like Protein CENP-A

M M Valdivia et al. FEBS Lett.

Abstract

Centromere autoantibodies are commonly found in the serum of patients with some systemic autoimmune diseases. Previous studies have shown that a major human centromere autoantigen is the histone H3-like protein CENP-A. Although the human cDNA has been cloned, native CENP-A has been neither isolated nor expressed in Escherichia coli, and specific antibodies to this chromatin-associated centromere protein are not available yet. In this report, a highly charged peptide on CENP-A (residues 3-17) was used to generate a monospecific antibody that reacts by immunoblots with the 17 kDa centromeric protein. Immunofluorescence analysis showed reactivity of this anti-CENP-A serum in several but not all mammalian culture cells analyzed, suggesting that the sequence of this histone-like centromere protein could be more variable throughout evolution than originally thought. Selective extractions of human placenta nuclear proteins and immunoblot analysis indicated that CENP-A behaves in a similar way to the core histone polypeptides after nuclease digestion of chromatin. Also, immunoblot analysis demonstrated that the CENP-A peptide used as immunogen is a target region on the CENP-A molecule in several but not all CREST patients analyzed with high titers of autoantibodies to the centromere. Lastly, we found that in Jurkat cells induced to apoptosis, CENP-A remains associated with the centromere, in contrast to other human autoantigens studied during apoptosis.

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