Monday, August 6, 2012

Lymphocyte activation induces cell surface expression of an immunogenic vimentin isoform.

High titers of anti-vimentin antibodies after transplantation are known to be associated with poor long-term graft survival. Vimentin is an intracellular protein which is present in different isoforms in the cell. In a previous study with sera from hemodialysis patients on the kidney transplantation waiting list we could show that only a 49kDa and a 60kDa isoform are recognized by patients' anti-vimentin antibodies while the other isoforms remain undetected. However, it is still unclear whether antibodies against this intracellular protein can bind to intact cells. Here we show that vimentin can be present on the cell surface under certain conditions. Lymphocytes from healthy volunteers were used as a model for allogeneic cells. We could show by immunofluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry and Western blot experiments that concanavalin A (Con A) activated lymphocytes express a 49kDa vimentin isoform on their cell surface while the 60kDa isoform remains inaccessible from the outside. This expression is associated with an increased binding of sera from hemodialysis patients which were positive for anti-vimentin antibodies. These results suggest that cell activation enhances binding of anti-vimentin antibodies to intact cells which might contribute to chronic allograft nephropathy (read more) Print this post

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