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Self Nonself. 2010 Oct;1(4):328-334.

No human protein is exempt from bacterial motifs, not even one.

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  • 1Department of Computer Science; University of Saskatchewan; Saskatoon, Canada.


The hypothesis that mimicry between a self and a microbial peptide antigen is strictly related to autoimmune pathology remains a debated concept in autoimmunity research. Clear evidence for a causal link between molecular mimicry and autoimmunity is still lacking. In recent studies we have demonstrated that viruses and bacteria share amino acid sequences with the human proteome at such a high extent that the molecular mimicry hypothesis becomes questionable as a causal factor in autoimmunity. Expanding upon our analysis, here we detail the bacterial peptide overlapping to the human proteome at the penta-, hexa-, hepta- and octapeptide levels by exact peptide matching analysis and demonstrate that there does not exist a single human protein that does not harbor a bacterial pentapeptide or hexapeptide motif. This finding suggests that molecular mimicry between a self and a microbial peptide antigen cannot be assumed as a basis for autoimmune pathologies. Moreover, the data are discussed in relation to the microbial immune escape phenomenon and the possible vaccine-related autoimmune effects.

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