Antibodies directed at non-gal xenoantigens are responsible for acute humoral xenograft rejection when gal knockout (GalTKO) pig organs are transplanted into nonhuman primates. We generated IgM and IgG gene libraries using peripheral blood lymphocytes of rhesus monkeys initiating active xenoantibody responses after immunization with GalTKO pig endothelial cells and used these libraries to identify IgV(H) genes that encode antibody responses to non-gal pig xenoantigens. Immunoglobulin genes derived from the IGHV3-21 germline progenitor encode xenoantibodies directed at non-gal xenoantigens. Transduction of GalTKO cells with lentiviral vectors expressing the porcine alpha1,3 galactosyltransferase gene responsible for gal carbohydrate expression results in a higher level of binding of 'anti-non-gal' xenoantibodies to transduced GalTKO cells expressing the gal carbohydrate, suggesting that anti-non-gal xenoantibodies cross react with carbohydrate xenoantigens. The galactosyltransferase two gene encoding isoglobotriaosylceramide synthase (iGb3 synthase) is not expressed in GalTKO pig cells. Our results demonstrate that anti-non-gal xenoantibodies in primates are encoded by IgV(H) genes that are restricted to IGHV3-21 and bind to an epitope that is structurally related to but distinct from the Gal carbohydrate.
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