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Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2000 Sep-Oct;16(5):325-37.

The role of the proteasome in autoimmunity.

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Immunobiology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by T cell-mediated autoimmunity, with a prediabetic state characterized by the production of autoantibodies specific for proteins expressed by pancreatic beta cells. The non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse is a spontaneous model of Type 1 diabetes with a strong genetic component that maps to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region of the genome. A specific proteasome defect has now been identified in NOD mouse lymphocytes that results from down-regulation of expression of the proteasome subunit LMP2, which is encoded by a gene in the MHC genomic region. This defect both prevents the proteolytic processing required for the production and activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), which plays an important role in immune and inflammatory responses, in addition to increasing the susceptibility of the affected cells to apoptosis induced by tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). The proteasome dysfunction is both tissue- and developmental stage-specific and likely contributes to disease pathogenesis and tissue targeting.

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