Six components of the mammalian 2-oxo acid dehydrogenase complexes have previously been identified as M2 autoantigens in primary biliary cirrhosis. In this report, we present data showing that both polypeptidespecific and cross-reacting antibodies are present in patients' sera. Antibodies reacting with E2 of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex cross-react with protein X but not with any other mammalian antigen. The main immunogenic region on protein X has been localized to within its single lipoyl domain. Polypeptide-specific antibodies bind to Elα and E1β of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Antibodies reacting with the E2 polypeptides of the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex and branched-chain 2-oxo acid dehydrogenase complex show some crossreactivity but do not recognize any of the antigens of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Antibodies against the E2 component of the mammalian pyruvate dehydrogenase complex cross-react effectively with the corresponding protein from yeast but not with E2 from Escherichia coli. Antibody titer against mammalian antigens is significantly higher than against the bacterial antigens, arguing against a bacterial origin for primary biliary cirrhosis. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;13:467–474.)
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