Clonal relationships between thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor-stimulating antibodies illustrate the effect of hypermutation on antibody function

Carolyn J Padoa, Sanne L Larsen, Christiane S Hampe, Jacqueline A Gilbert, Elif Dagdan, Laszlo Hegedus, Deborah Dunn-Walters, J Paul Banga

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Summary Graves' disease is characterized by production of agonist antibodies to the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR), but knowledge of the genetic and somatic events leading to their aberrant production is limited. We describe the genetic analysis of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with thyroid-stimulating activity (TSAb) obtained from a single mouse with experimental Graves' disease. The mAbs were class switched, but used the same rearrangement of immunoglobulin heavy chain, variable region (IGHV) and immunoglobulin light chain, variable region (IGLV) germline genes, implying a clonal relationship and derivation from a single precursor B-cell clone. The IGHV-region genes of the two mAbs underwent high degrees of somatic hypermutation by sharing numerous mutations before diverging, while the IGLV genes evolved separately. Interestingly, the mutations were present in both the complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) and the framework regions. The cloned IGHV and IGLV genes were confirmed to have TSAb properties in experiments in which they were expressed as recombinant Fabs (rFabs). In other experiments, we swapped the IGLV genes with IGHV genes by constructing chimeric rFabs and showed that the chimeras retained TSAb activities, confirming the close functional relatedness of the V-region genes. Importantly, the IGLV genes in chimeric rFabs had a dominant stimulatory effect at low concentrations, while the IGHV genes had a dominant effect at higher concentrations. Our findings demonstrate that, in experimentally immunized mice, multiple pathogenic antibodies to TSHR can arise from a single clone by a series of somatic mutations in the V-region genes and may give an insight into how such antibodies develop spontaneously in autoimmune Graves' disease.
Original languageEnglish
JournalImmunology
Volume129
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)300-308
ISSN0019-2805
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21. Oct 2009

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