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Identification of a HERV-K env surface peptide highly recognized in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients: a cross-sectional case–control study

Mameli, Giuseppe and Erre, Gian Luca and Caggiu, Elisa and Mura, S. and Cossu, Davide and Bo, M. and Cadoni, M. L. and Piras, A. and Mundula, N. and Colombo, E. and Buscetta, G. and Passiu, Giuseppe and Sechi, Leonardo Antonio (2017) Identification of a HERV-K env surface peptide highly recognized in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients: a cross-sectional case–control study. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Vol. 189 (1), p. 127-131. eISSN 1365-2249. Article.

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DOI: 10.1111/cei.12964

Abstract

Endogenous retroviruses (HERV) are believed to be pathogenic in several autoimmune diseases. Among them, HERV-K viruses have been reported recently to be involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this study we have explored the role of humoral immune response against HERV-K as a potential pathogenetic mechanism in RA. Four different peptides from the extracellular portion of the env protein of HERV-K (env-su19–37, env-su109–126, env-su164–186, env-su209–226) were selected by bioinformatic analysis on the basis of their putative immunogenicity. Indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was then carried out to quantify antibodies against those peptides on blood samples of 70 consecutive RA patients and 71 healthy controls (HC). Differences between the two groups were analysed using the Mann–Whitney test. Potential correlations between RA laboratory, clinical descriptors and immunoglobulin (Ig)G levels were explored by bivariate regression analysis. Serum autoantibodies against one of four tested peptides of HERV-K (env-su19–37) were significantly higher in RA than in HC (19 versus 3%, P = 0·0025). Subgroup analysis showed no association between anti-HERV-K peptide humoral response and clinical, serological and clinimetric RA disease descriptors. Serum from RA patients in our series reacted significantly against HERV-K env-su19–37 peptide in comparison to the general population suggesting a role for the HERV-K- related, secondary antigenic-driven immune response in the pathogenesis of RA. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and to explore the role of this HERV-K surface peptide as a potential therapeutic target.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:11326
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Herv-K, humoral response, molecular mimicry, peptides, rheumatoid arthritis
Subjects:Area 06 - Scienze mediche > MED/07 Microbiologia e microbiologia clinica
Divisions:002 Altri enti e centri di ricerca del Nord Sardegna > AOU -Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria, Sassari
001 Università di Sassari > 01-a Nuovi Dipartimenti dal 2012 > Scienze Biomediche
001 Università di Sassari > 01-a Nuovi Dipartimenti dal 2012 > Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons
eISSN:1365-2249
Copyright Holders:© 2017 British Society for Immunology
Deposited On:18 Sep 2017 18:18

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