Hybridomas the produce anti-DNA autoantibodies were prepared from spleen cells of unimmunized MRL/1 mice, a strain that spontaneously develops severe systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). Reactivities of these monoclonal antibodies with a wide range of polynucleotides prompted tests of their reactions with phospholipids which, like polynucleotides, contain diester-linked phosphate groups in their backbones. In competitive radioimmunoassays, cardiolipin, phosphatidic acid, and phosphatidyl glycerol blocked the binding of these hybridoma antibodies to denatured DNA. These phospholipids also specifically inhibited the reaction between a hybridoma antibody and a site-specific anti-idiotypic antibody. The antinuclear reaction of one of these antibodies was specifically inhibited by cardiolipin. This same antibody prolonged the activated partial thromboplastin time in a manner characteristic of a lupus anticoagulant, presumably by binding to phospholipid in the test system. The polyspecific reactivity of a single molecular species of lupus autoantibody suggests that some of the diverse serological abnormalities of SLE may be a result of the binding of certain autoantibodies to a phosphodiester-containing epitope that is present in diverse biological molecules.

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