A human anti-cardiolipin autoantibody is encoded by developmentally restricted heavy and light chain variable region genes
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Based on recent structural analyses of monoclonal autoantibodies, it appears that a number of these antibodies express germ-line immunoglobulin variable region (V) genes with little or no somatic mutation. In addition, our group and others have noted the identity or near identity of some autoantibody-associated V genes to V genes apparently expressed preferentially in the fetal pre-B cell repertoire. To extend these data, we now report that the heavy and light chain V genes of an anti-cardiolipin antibody derived from a healthy individual display 99% nucleotide sequence homology with V genes expressed in early B cell ontogeny. Sequence comparisons indicate the likely use of fetal-restricted V genes by this autoantibody. Taken together with other data on autoantibody V gene usage, these findings provide further evidence for overlap between the autoantibody-associated and early ontogeny expressed V gene repertoires and suggest that natural autoreactivity may be instrumental in the development and maintenance of the normal immune repertoire. © 1990 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved: reproduction in whole or part not permitted.