Research ArticleAutoimmunity

Commensal orthologs of the human autoantigen Ro60 as triggers of autoimmunity in lupus

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Science Translational Medicine  28 Mar 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 434, eaan2306
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan2306

Autoimmune initiation by bacterial antigens

Lupus patients react to many self-proteins throughout the course of disease, with some of the earliest autoantibodies targeting the RNA binding protein Ro60. Greiling and colleagues sampled the microbiota of lupus patients and detected commensals with orthologs of human Ro60. These bacterial Ro60 proteins could be recognized by patient sera and stimulated patient T cells. Colonization of germ-free mice also led to human Ro60 reactivity and lupus-like symptoms, strongly indicating that molecular mimicry of the commensal Ro60 could be triggering autoreactivity and driving disease progression. These striking results have implications beyond lupus and could help uncover global mechanisms of autoimmune pathogenesis.

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