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Curr Opin Immunol. 2004 Dec;16(6):753-8.

Post-translational modifications of self antigens: implications for autoimmunity.

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  • 1University of Edinburgh, Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, School of Biological Sciences, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JT, UK.


Alterations in amino acid sequence can generate neo-epitopes from self proteins, causing autoaggressive immune attack. There is a range of possible post-translational modifications (PTMs) of mammalian proteins that can allow immune recognition of neo-self epitopes. These effects can vary from overt increase in affinity of MHC or T-cell receptor binding, to more subtle effects on the activity of proteolytic enzymes involved in antigen processing. Furthermore, intriguing insights into how the complex interactions between inflammation, enzyme activity and protein modification can direct self recognition are beginning to be unearthed.

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