RA33 is a nuclear autoantigen with an apparent molecular mass of 33 kD. Autoantibodies against RA33 are found in about 30% of sera from RA patients, but only occasionally in sera from patients with other connective tissue diseases. To characterize RA33, the antigen was purified from HeLa cell nuclear extracts to more than 90% homogeneity by affinity chromatography on heparin-Sepharose and by chromatofocusing. Sequence analysis of five tryptic peptides revealed that their sequences matched corresponding sequences of the A2 protein of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) complex. Furthermore, RA33 was shown to be present in the 40S hnRNP complex and to behave indistinguishably from A2 in binding to single stranded DNA. In summary, these data strongly indicate that RA33 and A2 are the same protein, and thus identify on a molecular level a new autoantigen.


G Steiner, K Hartmuth, K Skriner, I Maurer-Fogy, A Sinski, E Thalmann, W Hassfeld, A Barta, J S Smolen


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