Epiligrin, the major component of human keratinocyte extracellular matrix, serves as the preferred integrin ligand for alpha 3 beta 1 in plasma membranes and focal adhesions, and colocalizes with alpha 6 beta 4 in hemidesmosomes. In human skin, epiligrin is found in the lamina lucida subregion of epidermal basement membrane, where it is thought to be associated with anchoring filaments. We have identified three patients with an acquired mucosal predominant subepidermal blistering disease who have IgG anti-basement membrane autoantibodies that bind the lamina lucida/lamina densa interface of epidermal basement membrane, stain cultured human keratinocyte extracellular matrix, and immunoprecipitate disulfide linked polypeptides of 170, 145, 125, and 95 kD in human keratinocyte culture media in a pattern identical to that of P1E1, a murine monoclonal antiepiligrin antibody. Comparative immunoprecipitation studies of patient sera, P1E1, and GB3 monoclonal antibody show that epiligrin is identical to the antigen (i.e., BM600 or GB3 antigen) previously reported to be absent from the skin of patients with lethal junctional epidermolysis bullosa, an inherited subepidermal blistering disease. Moreover, skin from a fetus with this disease shows no evidence of reactivity to patient antiepiligrin autoantibodies or P1E1. These studies show that antiepiligrin autoantibodies are a specific marker for a novel autoimmune blistering disease and that the epidermal basement membrane antigen absent in patients with lethal junctional epidermolysis bullosa is epiligrin.
N Domloge-Hultsch, W R Gammon, R A Briggaman, S G Gil, W G Carter, K B Yancey