Physical characteristics of a citrullinated pro-filaggrin epitope recognized by anti-citrullinated protein antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis sera

Nicole Hartwig Trier, Bettina Eide Holm, Ole Slot, Henning Locht, Hanne Lindegaard, Anders Jørgen Svendsen, Gunnar Houen

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Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease of complex etiology. A characteristic feature of a subset of RA is the presence of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), which correlate with a progressive disease course. In this study, we employed streptavidin capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to analyze ACPA reactivity. Using the pro-filaggrin peptide HQCHQEST-Cit-GRSRGRCGRSGS, as template, we analyzed the reactivity of RA sera and healthy donor sera to various peptides in order to determine the physical characteristics of the citrullinated pro-filaggrin epitope and to examine whether biotin labelling influence antibody recognition. The full-length cyclic pro-filaggrin peptide and a linear form with a N-terminal biotin, was recognized to the same level, whereas, a notable difference in ACPA reactivity to the linear peptides with a C-terminal biotin was found, probably due to steric hindrance. Screening of linear and cyclic truncated peptides, revealed that small cyclic peptides containing 10-12 amino acids are favored over the linear. Moreover, the charged amino acids C-terminal to citrulline were found to be essential for antibody reactivity, most important was the charged amino acid in position 4 C-terminal to citrulline. Collectively, peptide structure, length, the presence of charged amino acids and biotin labelling markedly influence antibody reactivity. In relation to the clinical diagnostics of ACPA, these findings may reflect the differences in diagnostic assays used for detection of ACPA, which relates to differences in sensitivity and specificity dependent on the assay applied.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168542
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume11
Issue number12
Number of pages16
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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