Sequence homology between certain viral proteins and proteins related to encephalomyelitis and neuritis

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Science  19 Jul 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4710, pp. 282-284
DOI: 10.1126/science.2409602


Post-infectious or post-vaccinal demyelinating encephalomyelitis and neuritis may be due to immunological cross-reactions evoked by specific viral antigenic determinants (epitopes) that are homologous to regions in the target myelins of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Such homologies have been found by computer searches in which decapeptides in two human myelin proteins were compared with proteins of viruses known to infect humans. These viruses include measles, Epstein-Barr, influenza A and B, and others that cause upper respiratory infections. Several regions identified in myelin basic protein and P2 protein can be related to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis or neuritis in laboratory animals.