We have previously described complement-independent killing of human B lymphocytes by two IgM MoAbs derived from the VH4-34 (VH4.21) gene. Analysis of 17 independently derived VH4-34-encoded MoAbs shows that B cell toxicity is not limited to the two described MoAbs, but is a general property shared by a subset of MoAbs derived from the VH4-34 gene. As observed by two independent microscopy techniques, giant membrane pores were formed on target B cells within 10-15 min of exposure to cytotoxic VH4-34-derived MoAbs. Toxicity by individual MoAb correlated directly to its B cell binding intensity measured by FACS, i.e. stronger the binding greater the killing. Sequence analysis showed that V(H) region in germ-line or in near germ-line configuration was necessary but not sufficient for B cell binding. In addition, a particular sequence motif enriched in basic amino acids in the CDR3 may be required to supplement the reactivity mediated by the V(H) region of the MoAb molecule. VH4-34-encoded antibodies that fulfil the above sequence requirements have cold agglutinin activity towards the i antigen of cord erythrocytes. In vivo, such anti-i/anti-B cell antibodies are rarely detected in healthy adults, but serum levels are dramatically elevated in selective pathological conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and infectious mononucleosis. This strict regulation may be related to the novel and rapid mechanism of human B cell toxicity demonstrated by antibodies encoded by a single human V(H) gene.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997WR92700022
View details for PubMedID 9097924
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC1904638