Previous studies in type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the nonobese diabetic mouse demonstrated that a crucial insulin epitope (B:9-23) is presented to diabetogenic CD4 T cells by IA(g7) in a weakly bound register. The importance of antigenic peptides with low-affinity HLA binding in human autoimmune disease remains less clear. The objective of this study was to investigate T-cell responses to a low-affinity self-epitope in subjects with T1D. HLA-DQ8 tetramers loaded with a modified insulin peptide designed to improve binding the low-affinity register were used to visualize T-cell responses following in vitro stimulation. Positive responses were only detectable in T1D patients. Because the immunogenic register of B:9-23 presented by DQ8 has not been conclusively demonstrated, T-cell assays using substituted peptides and DQ8 constructs engineered to express and present B:9-23 in fixed binding registers were used to determine the immunogenic register of this peptide. Tetramer-positive T-cell clones isolated from T1D subjects that responded to stimulation by B:11-23 peptide and denatured insulin protein were conclusively shown to recognize B:11-23 bound to HLA-DQ8 in the low-affinity register 3. These T cells also responded to homologous peptides derived from microbial antigens, suggesting that their initial priming could occur via molecular mimicry. These results are in accord with prior observations from the nonobese diabetic mouse model, suggesting a mechanism shared by mouse and man through which T cells that recognize a weakly bound peptide can circumvent tolerance mechanisms and play a role in the initiation of autoimmune diseases, such as T1D.
Human pancreatic ? cells have exceptionally high zinc content. In ? cells the highest zinc concentration is in insulin secretory granules, from which it is cosecreted with the hormone. Uptake of zinc into secretory granules is mainly mediated by zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8), the product of the SLC30A8 [solute carrier family 30 (zinc transporter), member 8] gene. The minor alleles of several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SLC30A8 are associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), but the precise mechanisms underlying the protective effects remain uncertain. In this article we review current knowledge of the role of ZnT8 in maintaining zinc homeostasis in ? cells, its role in glucose metabolism based on knockout mouse studies, and current theories regarding the link between ZnT8 function and T2D.
The primary autoantigen triggering spontaneous type 1 diabetes mellitus in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice is insulin. The major T-cell insulin epitope lies within the amino acid 9-23 peptide of the ?-chain (B:9-23). This peptide can bind within the peptide binding groove of the NOD MHC class II molecule (MHCII), IA(g7), in multiple positions or "registers." However, the majority of pathogenic CD4 T cells recognize this complex only when the insulin peptide is bound in register 3 (R3). We hypothesized that antibodies reacting specifically with R3 insulin-IA(g7) complexes would inhibit autoimmune diabetes specifically without interfering with recognition of other IA(g7)-presented antigens. To test this hypothesis, we generated a monoclonal antibody (mAb287), which selectively binds to B:9-23 and related variants when presented by IA(g7) in R3, but not other registers. The monoclonal antibody blocks binding of IA(g7)-B:10-23 R3 tetramers to cognate T cells and inhibits T-cell responses to soluble B:9-23 peptides and NOD islets. However, mAb287 has no effect on recognition of other peptides bound to IA(g7) or other MHCII molecules. Intervention with mAb287, but not irrelevant isotype matched antibody, at either early or late stages of disease development, significantly delayed diabetes onset by inhibiting infiltration by not only insulin-specific CD4 T cells, but also by CD4 and CD8 T cells of other specificities. We propose that peptide-MHC-specific monoclonal antibodies can modulate autoimmune disease without the pleiotropic effects of nonselective reagents and, thus, could be applicable to the treatment of multiple T-cell mediated autoimmune disorders.
G6PC2, also known as islet-specific glucose 6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein (IGRP), is a major target of autoreactive CD8(+) T cells in both diabetic human subjects and the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse. However, in contrast to the abundant literature regarding the CD8(+) response to this antigen, much less is known about the potential involvement of IGRP-reactive CD4(+) T cells in diabetogenesis. The single previous study that examined this question in NOD mice was based upon a candidate epitope approach and identified three I-A(g7)-restricted epitopes that each elicited spontaneous responses in these animals. However, given the known inaccuracies of MHC class II epitope prediction algorithms, we hypothesized that additional specificities might also be targeted. To address this issue, we immunized NOD mice with membranes from insect cells overexpressing full-length recombinant mouse IGRP and measured recall responses of purified CD4(+) T cells using a library of overlapping peptides encompassing the entire 355-aa primary sequence. Nine peptides representing 8 epitopes gave recall responses, only 1 of which corresponded to any of the previously reported sequences. In each case proliferation was blocked by a monoclonal antibody to I-A(g7), but not the appropriate isotype control. Consistent with a role in diabetogenesis, proliferative responses to 4 of the 9 peptides (3 epitopes) were also detected in CD4(+) T cells purified from the pancreatic draining lymph nodes of pre-diabetic female animals, but not from peripheral lymph nodes or spleens of the same animals. Intriguingly, one of the newly identified spontaneously reactive epitopes (P8 [IGRP(55-72)]) is highly conserved between mice and man, suggesting that it might also be a target of HLA-DQ8-restricted T cells in diabetic human subjects, an hypothesis that we are currently testing.
Identification of the major humoral epitopes in zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) will expand the range of biomarkers for human type 1 diabetes and may provide clues to the mechanisms governing disease progression. Our initial studies suggested that most ZnT8-reactive sera recognize conformational epitopes in the final 100aa region of the molecule. Subsequently we identified residue 325 as a major determinant in two epitopes linked to a genetic polymorphism with high minor allele frequency (rs13266634). The goal of the current study was to extend this analysis to identify non-polymorphic epitopes in ZnT8.
Recently we demonstrated that zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) is a major target of autoantibodies in human type 1 diabetes (T1D). Because the molecules recognized by T1D autoantibodies are typically also targets of autoreactive T cells, we reasoned that this would likely be the case for ZnT8. To test this hypothesis, IFN-?-producing T cells specific for ZnT8 in the peripheral blood of 35 patients with T1D (<6 mo after onset at blood draw) and 41 age-matched controls were assayed by ELISPOT using a library of 23 overlapping dipeptide pools covering the entire 369 aa primary sequence. Consistent with our hypothesis, patients showed significantly higher T cell reactivity than the matched controls, manifest in terms of the breadth of the overall response and the magnitude of responses to individual pools. Therefore, the median number of pools giving positive responses (stimulation index ? 3) in the control group was 1.0 (range, 0-7) compared with 6.0 (range, 1-20; p < 0.0001) for the patients. Similarly, the median stimulation index of positive responses in controls was 3.1 versus 5.0 in the patients (p < 0.0001). Individually, 7 of 23 pools showed significant disease association (p < 0.001), with several of the component peptides binding the disease associated HLA-DR3 (0301) and -DR4 (0401) molecules in vitro. We conclude that ZnT8 is also a major target of disease-associated autoreactive T cells in human T1D, and we suggest that reagents that target ZnT8-specific T cells could have therapeutic potential in preventing or arresting the progression of this disease.
Zinc transporter-8 (ZnT8) was recently identified as a novel autoantigen in human type 1 diabetes (T1D). Autoantibody to ZnT8 (ZnT8A) was detected in up to 80% of patients with new-onset T1D and 26% of patients with T1D otherwise classified as negative on the basis of existing markers. As no data of ZnT8A in Chinese have been reported, we aim to evaluate the utility of ZnT8A for diagnosis of autoimmune T1D in Chinese relative to other autoantibody markers.
Type 1A diabetes is strongly associated with the presence of islet autoantibodies. Large scale population screening of islet autoantibodies is essential for many different national and international studies related to defining subtypes of diabetes, the natural history of the disease, and for trials of prevention. Testing for relevant autoantibodies has become more difficult as the number of important autoantibodies/epitopes increases. In the present study, we created a chimeric protein, IA2-ZnT8WR, with two major islet autoantigens, IA-2 and the recent Zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8). The chimeric molecule included both common polymorphisms of the ZnT8 molecule, arginine or tryptophan at position 325. Serum samples from 284 patients with newly diagnosed diabetes, 10 prediabetics, and 110 age-matched normal controls were analyzed for islet autoantibodies reacting with the IA2-ZnT8WR molecule. Autoantibodies to the chimeric molecule were compared to reactivity with individual assays detecting autoantibodies reacting with the separate molecules (IA-2, ZnT8-R and ZnT8-W). With this chimeric protein antigen, IA2-ZnT8WR, one radioassay is able to detect autoantibodies to IA-2 and to both major forms of ZnT8 (100% sensitivity, 100% unchanged specificity, relative to individual molecules). The chimeric assay provides an efficient and economical technique to screen for islet autoantibodies reacting with IA-2 and ZnT8.
The presence of circulating islet cell autoantibodies distinguishes type 1A diabetes (T1D) from other diabetic syndromes and determination of autoantigen genes and proteins is instrumental in understanding T1D as a clinical entity and in investigating the pathogenesis of the disease. ZnT8 was recently defined as a candidate autoantigen based on a -bioinformatics analysis focused on discovery of beta-cell-specific proteins associated with the regulatory pathway of secretion. The native molecule does not lend itself easily to solution-phase autoantibody assays, but ligands based on the predicted domain structure and molecular modeling have led to robust diagnostic procedures showing high specificities and sensitivities that complement current T1D autoantibody assays and add to the predictive value of their measurement. The incorporation of genetic and structural epitope analysis into ZnT8A determinations adds a further dimension to its diagnostic value and understanding of its role in the autoimmune disease process.
Methods are presented for the separation of dense core secretory vesicles from insulin-secreting tissues (insulin granules) based on a combination of differential and density gradient centrifugation on various media. Emphasis is given to the use of transplantable tumors, tissue culture cell lines, and pancreatic islets as a tissue source.
The objective of this study was to define the spectrum of TCR beta chains permissive for T cells with alpha chains containing the conserved TRAV5D-4*04 sequence to target the insulin B:9-23 peptide, a major epitope for initiation of diabetes in the NOD mouse.
In type 1 diabetes, diabetes-associated autoantibodies, including islet cell antibodies (ICAs), reflect adaptive immunity, while increased serum N(?)-carboxymethyl-lysine (CML), an advanced glycation end product, is associated with proinflammation. We assessed whether serum CML and autoantibodies predicted type 1 diabetes and to what extent they were determined by genetic or environmental factors. Of 7,287 unselected schoolchildren screened, 115 were ICA(+) and were tested for baseline CML and diabetes autoantibodies and followed (for median 7 years), whereas a random selection (n = 2,102) had CML tested. CML and diabetes autoantibodies were determined in a classic twin study of twin pairs discordant for type 1 diabetes (32 monozygotic, 32 dizygotic pairs). CML was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, autoantibodies were determined by radioimmunoprecipitation, ICA was determined by indirect immunofluorescence, and HLA class II genotyping was determined by sequence-specific oligonucleotides. CML was increased in ICA(+) and prediabetic schoolchildren and in diabetic and nondiabetic twins (all P < 0.001). Elevated levels of CML in ICA(+) children were a persistent, independent predictor of diabetes progression, in addition to autoantibodies and HLA risk. In twins model fitting, familial environment explained 75% of CML variance, and nonshared environment explained all autoantibody variance. Serum CML, a glycotoxin, emerged as an environmentally determined diabetes risk factor, in addition to autoimmunity and HLA genetic risk, and a potential therapeutic target.
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