Generation of novel covalent RNA-protein complexes in cells by ultraviolet B irradiation: Implications for autoimmunity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine whether ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation induces novel modifications in autoantigens targeted during experimental photoinduced epidermal damage. Methods. To search for novel UVB-induced autoantigen modifications, lysates made from UVB-irradiated human keratinocytes or HeLa cells were immunoblotted using human autoantibodies that recognize ribonucleoprotein autoantigens. Novel autoantigen structures identified were further characterized using nucleases and RNA hybridization. Results. Human sera that recognize U1-70 kd (U1-70K) and La by immunoblotting also recognized multiple novel species when they were used to immunoblot lysates of UVB-irradiated keratinocytes or HeLa cells. These species were not present in control cells and were not observed when apoptosis was induced by Fas ligation or cytotoxic lymphocyte granule contents. Biochemical analysis using multiple assays revealed that these novel UVB-induced molecular species result from the covalent crosslinking between the U1 RNA and the hYRNA molecules with their associated proteins, including U1-70K, La, and likely components of the Sm particle. Conclusion. These data demonstrate that UVB irradiation of live cells can directly induce covalent RNA-protein complexes, which are recognized by human autoantibodies. As previously described for other autoantigens, these covalent complexes of RNA and proteins may have important consequences in terms of antigen capture and processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1160-1170
Number of pages11
JournalArthritis and rheumatism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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