Mediterr J Rheumatol 2020;31(1):50-70
A Bioinformatics Analysis Reveals Novel Pathogens as Molecular Mimicry Triggers of Systemic Sclerosis
Authors Information
Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece

A recent bioinformatic analysis revealing dominant B cell epitopes of systemic sclerosis-specific autoantibodies, including anti-centromere B, anti-topoisomerase I and anti-fibrillarin, has demonstrated the existence of several in silico antigenic mimics of pathogens that could act as triggers of the respective dominant autoepitopes.

Based on those findings, the aim of the present study was to use a more comprehensive bioinformatic analysis. We demonstrated the presence of a plethora of novel microbial mimics, unnoticed by the studies so far conducted, which share remarkable amino acid similarities with the respective autoantigenic epitopes.
This bioinformatic approach coupled by in vitro testing of the homologous self/non-self-mimics in serum samples from patients with systemic sclerosis may provide novel evidence of immunological cross-reactivity, implicating currently ignored or overlooked pathogens, which may indeed play a role in the induction of SSc-specific autoantibodies and assist efforts to understand the pathogenesis of this enigmatic disease.


Article Submitted: 28 Nov 2019; Revised Form: 01 Feb 2020; Article Accepted: 17 Feb 2020; Published: 31 Mar 2020

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY).

©Gkoutzourelas A, Barmakoudi M, Bogdanos DP.