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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 19

of 'Anti-U1 RNP antibodies in mixed connective tissue disease'

Key sequences involved in the spreading of the systemic autoimmune response to spliceosomal proteins.
Monneaux F, Muller S
Scand J Immunol. 2001;54(1-2):45.
Immune spreading to multiple intracellular antigens is likely to be of primary importance in organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases. A number of mechanisms by which immune spreading may occur from only a single autoreactive epitope have been proposed. Search for an initiator or early epitope thus represents an important area of investigation. For example, many studies have focused on the identification of epitopes recognized by the antibodies from both patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus-prone mice. Recently, an autoepitope present in the 70K U1 ribonucleo protein (RNP) and recognized by CD4+ T cells from lupus mice has also been identified. Here, we analyze the results of B- and T-cell-epitope mapping studies of several RNPs present in the spliceosome and propose a model of epitope spreading. In this model, a consensus sequence (the RNP motif) conserved in many nuclear, nucleolar and cytoplasmic antigens, might play a role as 'driver' epitope. This hypothesis is based on the observation that this sequence is recognized by CD4+ T cells from lupus mice and is often targeted by autoantibodies, very early during the course of the disease. Targeting this region that is repeated in different self-antigens, might represent an interesting strategy to interfere with the continuous T-cell stimulation and exposure to specific antigens.
Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, UPR 9021 CNRS Immunologie et Chimie Thérapeutiques, 15 rue RenéDescartes, 67000 Strasbourg, France.