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Pathogenic CD4 T cells in type 1 diabetes recognize epitopes formed by peptide fusion

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Science  12 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6274, pp. 711-714
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2791

T cells target peptide combos

One of the enduring mysteries of autoimmunity is the identity of the specific proteins targeted by autoimmune T cells. Delong et al. used mass spectrometry to elucidate the peptide targets of autoimmune T cells isolated from a mouse model of type 1 diabetes. T cells targeted hybrid peptides formed by the covalent linking of a peptide derived from pro-insulin to other peptides derived from proteins found in pancreatic beta cells. T cells isolated from the pancreatic islets of two individuals with type 1 diabetes also recognized such hybrid peptides, suggesting that they may play an important role in driving disease.

Science, this issue p. 711