Antibodies to glycyl-transfer RNA synthetase in patients with myositis and interstitial lung disease

Ira N. Targoff, Edward P. Trieu, Paul H. Plotz, Frederick W. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Objective. We have previously described anti-EJ antibodies, and provided evidence that these antibodies react with glycyl-transfer RNA (gly-tRNA) synthetase. The aim of the present study was to identify patients with anti-EJ antibodies and describe the clinical associations of the antibody, in particular, whether it is associated with the syndrome of myositis and interstitial lung disease (ILD) that has been previously associated with autoantibodies to the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases for histidine, threonine, and alanine. Methods. Sera from patients with suspected or proven polymyositis or dermatomyositis (DM), sera with anticytoplasmic patterns, and control sera were tested for anti-EJ antibodies by immunoprecipitation (IPP). Positive sera and controls were tested for the ability to inhibit gly-tRNA synthetase by preincubation of the enzyme source with the serum. Results. Anti-EJ antibodies were demonstrated in the sera of 5 patients, by IPP of characteristic tRNAs and protein. Original serum EJ and each of the new sera significantly inhibited the enzymatic activity of glytRNA synthetase but not histidyl-tRNA synthetase. All 5 of the new patients had inflammatory myopathy, a typical DM rash, and ILD. One, who had an overlap syndrome with systemic lupus erythematosus, had anti-EJ at least 4 months before the development of clinical myositis. Arthritis and Raynaud's phenomenon, other features associated with antisynthetases, were also seen. Conclusion. Anti-EJ is associated with the syndrome of myositis and lung disease that is seen in association with other antisynthetases. The finding of specific inhibition of gly-tRNA synthetase by all anti-EJ-positive sera strongly supports the identification of EJ antigen as gly-tRNA synthetase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-830
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Rheumatology


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