Characterization of the DNA-binding protein antigen Ku recognized by autoantibodies from patients with rheumatic disorders

T. Mimori, J. A. Hardin, J. A. Steitz

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248 Scopus citations


We have characterized the biochemical nature of the Ku protein, the antigen recognized by autoantibodies from certain patients with scleroderma, polymyositis overlap syndrome. From extracts of HeLa cells labeled with [32P]orthophosphate, anti-Ku antibodies precipitated a high molecular weight nucleic acid identified as DNA because of sensitivity to DNase I and resistance to RNase. From extracts of cells labeled with [35S]methionine, these antibodies precipitated two polypeptides of 70,000 and 80,000 Da. These proteins were purified using immunoaffinity column chromatography. In immunoblots most sera containing anti-Ku antibodies recognized both Ku proteins but one serum bound only to the 70,000-Da subunit. When nucleosomal segments of chromatin were used as antigen, anti-Ku antibodies precipitated dinucleosomes and larger forms of chromatin but not mononucleosomes. Thus, the Ku antigen is a novel DNA-binding protein that is at least partially exposed on nucleosomal segments of chromatin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2274-2278
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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