The X-linked Alport syndrome is associated with mutations and deletions in COL4A5 gene, one of six genes which constitute the α-chains of type IV collagen in basement membranes. The autosomal recessive form of Alport syndrome is characterized by mutations and deletions in the COL4A3 arid COL4A4 genes. A fraction of Alport patients who undergo renal transplantation develop anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) nephritis, which results in loss of the renal allograft function. Recently, the target for alloantibodies from an X-linked Alport patient with complete COL4A5 gene deletion was determined to be the α3 chain of type IV collagen. The present study characterized the post-transplant alloantibodies from an autosomal recessive Alport patient with anti-GBM glomerulonephritis and a COL4A3 gene mutation which predicted a loss of 85% of the α3(IV) NC1 domain. The specificity of these new antibodies were studied using glomerular basement membrane constituents and recombinant type IV collagen domains. The results establish the target for the alloantibodies from an autosomal recessive Alport patient with COL4A3 deletion as principally the α3(IV) collagen chain, similar to,the post-transplant alloantibodies from X-linked Alport patients with COL4A5 gene deletions. The absence of α3(IV) chain in the GBM of patients with both these forms of Alport syndrome, due either to a failure of synthesis or a failure of assembly, presumably leads to a loss of immunologic tolerance for the α3(IV) NC1 domain in transplanted allografts.
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