Editors' ChoiceAutoimmune Disease

Finding the Targets of T Cells Gone Bad

Sci. Signal.  21 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 348, pp. ec296
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa1004

Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can result when the immune system attacks its own body. If we could identify the specific proteins targeted by autoimmune T cells, we might then be able to block this interaction, which might be useful therapeutically. Ito et al. identified one such target in mice that develop a disease similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Disease-causing T cells recognized a protein that is part of the ribosome, a large protein complex that catalyzes protein synthesis. They also found T cells specific for this protein in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Y. Ito, M. Hashimoto, K. Hirota, N. Ohkura, H. Morikawa, H. Nishikawa, A. Tanaka, M. Furu, H. Ito, T. Fujii, T. Nomura, S. Yamazaki, A. Morita, D. A. A. Vignali, J. W. Kappler, S. Matsuda, T. Mimori, N. Sakaguchi, S. Sakaguchi, Detection of T cell responses to a ubiquitous cellular protein in autoimmune disease. Science 346, 363–368 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]