Pathogenic antibody response to glucose-6-phosphate isomerase targets a modified epitope uniquely exposed on joint cartilage.

Li T, Ge C, Krämer A, Sareila O, Leu Agelii M, Johansson L, Forslind K, Lönnblom E, Yang M, Xu B, Li Q, Cheng L, Bergström G, Fernandez G, Kastbom A, Rantapää-Dahlqvist S, Gjertsson I, Holmdahl R

Ann. Rheum. Dis. 82 (6) 799-808 [2023-06-00; online 2023-03-01]

To identify the arthritogenic B cell epitopes of glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) and their association with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). IgG response towards a library of GPI peptides in patients with early RA, pre-symptomatic individuals and population controls, as well as in mice, were tested by bead-based multiplex immunoassays and ELISA. Monoclonal IgG were generated, and the binding specificity and affinity were determined by ELISA, gel size exclusion chromatography, surface plasma resonance and X-ray crystallography. Arthritogenicity was investigated by passive transfer experiments. Antigen-specific B cells were identified by peptide tetramer staining. Peptide GPI293-307 was the dominant B cell epitope in K/BxN and GPI-immunised mice. We could detect B cells and low levels of IgM antibodies binding the GPI293-307 epitopes, and high affinity anti-GPI293-307 IgG antibodies already 7 days after GPI immunisation, immediately before arthritis onset. Transfer of anti-GPI293-307 IgG antibodies induced arthritis in mice. Moreover, anti-GPI293-307 IgG antibodies were more frequent in individuals prior to RA onset (19%) than in controls (7.5%). GPI293-307-specific antibodies were associated with radiographic joint damage. Crystal structures of the Fab-peptide complex revealed that this epitope is not exposed in native GPI but requires conformational change of the protein in inflamed joint for effective recognition by anti-GPI293-307 antibodies. We have identified the major pathogenic B cell epitope of the RA-associated autoantigen GPI, at position 293-307, exposed only on structurally modified GPI on the cartilage surface. B cells to this neo-epitope escape tolerance and could potentially play a role in the pathogenesis of RA.

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PubMed 36858822

DOI 10.1136/ard-2022-223633

Crossref 10.1136/ard-2022-223633

pii: ard-2022-223633

Publications 9.5.0