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Mimicry of a 21.5 kDa myelin basic protein peptide by a Maedi Visna virus polymerase peptide does not contribute to the pathogenesis of encephalitis in sheep

Davies, J.M., Watt, N.J., Torsteinsdottir, S. and Carnegie, P.R. (1996) Mimicry of a 21.5 kDa myelin basic protein peptide by a Maedi Visna virus polymerase peptide does not contribute to the pathogenesis of encephalitis in sheep. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 55 (1-3). pp. 127-139.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0165-2427(96)05619-X
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Abstract

Epitope mimicry is the theory that an infectious agent such as a virus causes pathological effects via mimicry of host proteins and thus elicits a cross-reactive immune response to host tissues. Weise and Carnegie (1988) found a region of sequence similarity between the pol gene of the Maedi Visna virus (MVV), which induces demyelinating encephalitis in sheep, and myelin basic protein (MBP), which is known to induce experimental allergic encephalitis (EAE) in laboratory animals. In this study, cross-reactions between sera raised in sheep against synthetic peptides of MVV (TGKIPWILLPGR) and 21.5 kDa MBP (SGKVPWLKPGR) were demonstrated using enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) and thin layer chromatography (TLC) immunoprobing. The antibody responses of MVV-infected sheep were investigated using ELISA against the peptides, and MBP protein, immunoprobing of the peptides on TLC plates and Western blotting against MBP. Slight significant reactions to the 21.5 kDa MBP peptide (P < 0.001) and to a lesser extent sheep MBP (P < 0.004) were detected in ELISA. The MBP peptide evoked stronger responses from more sera than the MVV peptide on immunoprobed TLC plates. On the Western blots, eight of the 23 sheep with Visna had serum reactivity to MBP. This slight reaction to MBP in MVV-infected sheep is of interest because of the immune responses to MBP evident in multiple sclerosis and EAE, but its relevance in Visna is limited since no correlation with disease severity was observed. The cell-mediated immune responses of MVV-infected sheep against similar peptides was assessed. The peptides did not stimulate proliferation of peripheral blood lymphocytes of MVV-infected sheep. Since the MVV peptide was not recognised by antibodies or T lymphocytes from MVV-infected and encephalic sheep, it was concluded that epitope mimicry of this 21.5 kDa MBP peptide by the similar MVV pol peptide was not contributing to the immunopathogensis of Visna. The slight antibody response to MBP and the MBP peptide can be attributed to by-stander effects of the immunopathology of MVV-induced encephalitis.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/19073
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