A mutant α1antitrypsin in complex with heat shock proteins as the primary antigen in type 1 diabetes in silico investigation.

Affiliation

Finotti P(1), Pagetta A(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padua, Building "C", Largo E. Meneghetti, 2, 35131, Padua, Italy. [Email]
(2)Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padua, Building "C", Largo E. Meneghetti, 2, 35131, Padua, Italy.

Abstract

Based on previous results demonstrating that complexes of a mutant α1-antitrypsin with the heat shock proteins (HSP)70 and glucose-regulated protein94 (Grp94) circulate in the blood of patients with type 1 diabetes, we raised the hypothesis that these complexes could represent the primary antigen capable of triggering the autoimmune reactions leading to overt diabetes. As a first approach to this issue, we searched whether A1AT and HSPs had a sequence similarity to major islet antigen proteins so as to identify among the similar sequences those with potential relevance for the pathogenesis of diabetes. A thorough in silico analysis was performed to establish the score of similarity of the human proteins: A1AT, pro-insulin (INS), GAD65, IAPP, IA-2, ICA69, Grp94, HSP70 and HSP60. The sequences of A1AT and HSPs with the highest score of similarity to the islet peptides reported in the literature as the main autoantigens in human diabetes were recorded. At variance with other HSPs, also including HSP90 and Grp78, Grp94 contained the highest number and the longest sequences with structural similarity to A1AT and to well-known immunogenic peptides/epitopes of INS, GAD65, and IA-2. The similarity of A1AT with Grp94 and that of Grp94 with INS also suggested a functional relationship among the proteins. Specific sequences were identified in A1AT, Grp94 and HSP70, with the highest score of cross-similarity to a pattern of eight different islet protein epitopes. The similarity also involved recently discovered autoantigens in type 1 diabetes such as a hybrid peptides of insulin and the defective ribosomal insulin gene product. The significant similarity displayed by specific sequences of Grp94 and A1AT to the islet peptides considered main antigens in human diabetes, is a strong indication for testing these sequences as new peptides of immunogenic relevance in diabetes.