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J Immunol. 2006 Apr 1;176(7):4479-83.

Iodination of tyrosyls in thyroglobulin generates neoantigenic determinants that cause thyroiditis.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Division of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Canada.


Thyroglobulin (Tg) is unique in its ability to incorporate and store available iodine in the form of iodotyrosyl residues. Iodination of Tg has been known to increase its immunopathogenicity in experimental animals, presumably through the formation of iodine-containing neoantigenic determinants that can elicit an autoimmune response, but defined pathogenic Tg peptides carrying iodotyrosyls have not yet been identified. We report in this study that a systematic, algorithm-based search of mouse Tg has delineated three iodotyrosyl-containing peptides that activate autoreactive T cells and cause experimental autoimmune thyroiditis in normal CBA/J mice. These peptides (aa 117-132, 304-318, and 1931-1945) were not immunogenic in their native form, and iodination of tyrosyls facilitated either peptide binding to MHC or T cell recognition of the peptide. These results demonstrate that iodotyrosyl formation in normal Tg confers pathogenic potential to certain peptides that may otherwise remain innocuous and undetectable by conventional mapping methods.

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