Effective Inhibition of Thyroid Antigen Presentation Using Retro-Inverso Peptides in Experimental Autoimmune Thyroiditis: A Pathway Toward Immune Therapies of Thyroid Autoimmunity

Cheuk Wun Li, Roman Osman, Francesca Menconi, Hanxi Hou, Clyde Schechter, Aizhan Kozhakhmetova, Yaron Tomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) represent the most common autoimmune diseases. However, current therapies focus on relieving the symptoms instead of curing AITD, and new therapies to reverse the autoimmune attack on the thyroid are needed. HLA-DRβ1-Arg74 is the key HLA class II allele that triggers AITD by presenting pathogenic thyroglobulin (Tg) peptides that activate thyroid self-reactive T cells. We hypothesized that blocking the presentation of Tg peptides to T cells within the HLA-DRβ1-Arg74 peptide binding cleft could reverse the autoimmune response to the thyroid in AITD. Methods: The approach we used to block Tg peptide presentation within HLA-DRβ1-Arg74 is to design retro-inverso D-amino acid (RID) peptides that have high affinity to the HLA-DRβ1-Arg74 peptide binding pocket. Results: By using computational approaches and molecular dynamics simulations, we designed two RID peptides, RT-15 and VT-15, that blocked peptide binding to recombinant HLA-DRβ1-Arg74 molecule, as well as T cell activation in vitro. Furthermore, RT-15 and VT-15 blocked in vivo T cell activation by thyroglobulin in humanized NOD-DR3 mice induced with experimental autoimmune thyroiditis. Conclusions: In summary, we discovered two RID peptides that block thyroglobulin peptide binding to HLA-DRβ1-Arg74 and their presentation to T cells in AITD. These findings set the stage for a personalized medicine therapeutic approach for AITD patients who carry the DRβ1-Arg74 allele. This antigen-specific therapeutic strategy can potentially be extended to other autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-500
Number of pages9
JournalThyroid
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Graves'disease
  • HLA-DR3
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • autoimmune thyroiditis
  • peptides

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