We previously found that autoantibodies against mouse lysozyme (ML) were strongly induced in normal BALB/c mice when immunized with mutant ML that has triple mutations rendering the dominant T-cell epitope of hen egg lysozyme (HEL), HEL 107-116. As T cells specific for HEL 107-116 were primed in these mice, the anti-ML immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses would be the result of collaborations between autoreactive B cells specific for ML and T cells specific for HEL 107-116. Serum IgG responses against ML were dominantly focused on the ML 14-69 region, indicating that B cells responding to the epitope escape tolerance. In the present study, we prepared several monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for ML 14-69 and examined their antigen specificities in detail, to characterize the nature of the remaining B-cell repertoire specific for ML. mAbs specific for ML 14-69 interacted weakly with soluble, native ML, but the interactions were strengthened by denaturation of ML. The apparent affinity constants between these mAbs and ML showed an increase, ranging from six- to 80-fold, by denaturation of ML. Therefore, these mAbs were more specific for the denatured determinant than for the determinant in the native structure. These results indicate that a substantial number of autoreactive B cells, specific for the unfolded conformation of ML, escape tolerance and are dominantly involved in the autoantibody response to ML. Our finding provides important information to understand the naturally occurring autoreactive B-cell repertoire in normal mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy