Bruschi, M., Cavalli, A., Moll, S. et al. Discovery of anti-Formin-like 1 protein (FMNL1) antibodies in membranous nephropathy and other glomerular diseases. Sci Rep 12, 13659 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-17696-w
Evidence has shown that podocyte-directed autoantibodies can cause membranous nephropathy (MN). In the present work we investigated sera of MN patients using a high-density peptide array covering the whole coding sequences of the human genome encompassing 7,499,126 tiled peptides. A panel of 21 proteins reactive to MN sera were identified. We focused our attention on Formin-like 1 (FMNL1), a protein expressed by macrophages in MN patients tissues. High levels of anti-FMNL1 IgG4 were demonstrated in sera of MN patients with an orthogonal methodology (ELISA) contemporary demonstrating FMNL1 positive cells in kidney co-staining with CD68 in glomeruli. High levels of circulating anti-FMNL1 IgG4 were associated with lack of remission of proteinuria, potentially indicating that autoantibodies directed against cells other than podocytes, involved in tissue repair, might play a role in MN disease progression. High serum levels of anti-FMNL1 IgGs were also observed in other non-autoimmune glomerolonephrites, i.e. idiopathic and genetic FSGS, IgAGN. These findings are suggestive of a broader role of those autoantibodies in other glomerular disease conditions.