Antibody mediated epitope mimicry in the pathogenesis of Zika virus related disease

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jane HomanRobert D Bremel


The association of Guillain-Barré syndrome with Zika virus infection raises suspicion of autoimmunity in the pathogenesis of Zika associated disease. Using computational analysis to identify predicted B and T cell epitopes, we assessed whether antibodies elicited by B cell epitopes in Zika virus may also target B cell epitopes in the human proteome. We detected amino acid motifs predicted to be B cell epitopes in Zika virus proteins which are also present in human proteins, including pro-neuropeptide Y (proNPY), NAV2 and other proteins with interacting neurophysiologic function. We examine the predicted MHC binding of peptides likely to provide T cell help to the potential mimic epitopes. Some potential mimic epitopes in Zika virus envelope have apparently strong T cell help, likely facilitating immunoglobulin class switch. We also identify epitope mimic commonalities with dengue serotypes 1 and 3. We hypothesize that antibodies to Zika virus epitopes may contribute to the pathogenesis of Zika-associated Guillain-Barré syndrome, microcephaly, and ocular lesions, and may be a driver of autoimmunity. The risk associated with responses to potential epitope mimics must be addressed in the development of vaccines and therapeutics fo...Continue Reading

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