Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Neurobiol. 1991 Spring;5(1):1-29.

The main immunogenic region (MIR) of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and the anti-MIR antibodies.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece.


Myasthenia gravis (MG) is caused by autoantibodies against the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) of the neuromuscular junction. The anti-AChR antibodies are heterogeneous. However, a small region on the extracellular part of the AChR alpha subunit, called the main immunogenic region (MIR), seems to be the major target of the anti-AChR antibodies, but not of the specific T-cells, in experimental animals and possibly in MG patients. The major loop of the overlapping epitopes for all testable anti-MIR monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) was localized within residues 67-76 (WNPADYGGIK for Torpedo and WNPDDYGGVK for human AChR) of the alpha subunit. The N-terminal half of alpha 67-76 is the most critical, Asn68 and Asp71 being indispensable for binding. Yet anti-MIR antibodies are functionally and structurally quite heterogeneous. Anti-MIR MAbs do not affect channel gating, but they are very potent in mediating acceleration of AChR degradation (antigenic modulation) in cell cultures and in transferring experimental MG in animals. Fab fragments of anti-MIR MAbs bound to the AChR prevent the majority of the MG patients' antibodies from binding to and causing loss of the AChR. Whether this inhibition means that most MG antibodies bind on the same small region or is a result of broad steric/allosteric effects is under current investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center