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1.  Second-generation peptidomimetic inhibitors of antigen presentation effectively treat autoimmune diseases in HLA-DR-transgenic mouse models 
Journal of autoimmunity  2006;27(3):182-195.
Peptidomimetic compounds that bind to major histocompatibility complex class II molecules and are resistant to cathepsins can competitively inhibit the presentation of processed protein antigens. Therefore, compounds that bind to autoimmune disease-associated class II molecules are expected to compete with autoantigens for presentation and thereby interrupt the disease process. The first generation of such competitors developed for rheumatoid arthritis-associated HLA-DR molecules, although resistant to cathepsins, has remained sensitive to plasma proteases, and was thus unlikely to be effective in vivo. We have therefore produced a second generation of compounds that is resistant to cathepsins and stable in plasma while maintaining binding affinity for HLA-DR molecules associated with rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Selected compounds of this series are shown to inhibit antigen presentation in vivo, as well as effectively treat collagen induced arthritis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in HLA-DR transgenic mouse models.
PMCID: PMC4648363  PMID: 17081730
autoimmunity; MHC class II; peptidomimetics; therapy
2.  Analog peptides of type II collagen can suppress arthritis in HLA-DR4 (DRB1*0401) transgenic mice 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease associated with the recognition of self proteins secluded in diarthrodial joints. We have previously established that mice transgenic for the human DR genes associated with RA are susceptible to collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and we have identified a determinant of type II collagen (CII263–270) that triggers T-cell immune responses in these mice. We have also determined that an analog of CII263–270 would suppress disease in DR1 transgenic mice. Because the immunodominant determinant is the same for both DR1 transgenic and DR4 transgenic mice, we attempted to determine whether the analog peptide that was suppressive in DR1 transgenic mice would also be effective in suppressing CIA in DR4 transgenic mice. We treated DR4 transgenic mice with two analog peptides of CII that contained substitutions in the core of the immunodominant determinant: CII256–276 (F263N, E266D) and CII256–270 (F263N, E266A). Mice were observed for CIA, and T-cell proliferative responses were determined. Either peptide administered at the time of immunization with CII significantly downregulated arthritis. Binding studies demonstrated that replacement of the phenylalanine residue in position 263 of the CII peptide with asparagine significantly decreased the affinity of the peptide for the DR4 molecule. In contrast, replacement of the glutamic acid residue in position 266 with aspartic acid or with alanine had differing results. Aspartic acid reduced the affinity (35-fold) whereas alanine did not. Both peptides were capable of suppressing CIA. With the use of either peptide, CII256–276 (F263N, E266D) or CII256–270 (F263N, E266A), the modulation of CIA was associated with an increase in T-cell secretion of IL-4 together with a decrease in IFN-γ. We have identified two analog peptides that are potent suppressors of CIA in DR4 transgenic mice. These experiments represent the first description of an analog peptide of CII recognized by T cells in the context of HLA-DR4 that can suppress autoimmune arthritis.
PMCID: PMC1779432  PMID: 16982003

Results 1-2 (2)