The Prerequisites for Central Tolerance Induction against Citrullinated Proteins in the Mouse.

PloS one (2016-07-01)
Robby Engelmann, Andra Biemelt, Antje Cordshagen, Anja Johl, Daniela Kuthning, Brigitte Müller-Hilke

To assess the prerequisites for negative selection of peptidylcitrulline-specific T cells in the thymus. In detail, we here analyzed murine medullary thymic epithelial cells for the expression of peptidylarginine deiminases (PAD) and subsequent citrullination. Medullary thymic epithelial cells were sorted, their mRNA was isolated and the expression of Pad genes was analyzed by quantitative PCR. Citrullination was detected by Western Blot in lysates of sorted medullary thymic epithelial cells and histologically by immunofluorescence of thymic thin sections. Pad2 and Pad4 are the main Pad isoforms expressed in mature medullary thymic epithelial cells of the mouse and their levels of expression are comparable to that of insulin (Ins2), another highly and promiscuously expressed protein in the thymus. Citrullination was detected in medullary thymic epithelial cells as shown by Western Blot and immunofluorescence. Even though we here show that the murine thymus harbors the prerequisites for central tolerance to PAD and citrullinated peptides, it remains an open question whether the emergence of peptidylcitrulline-specific T cells and of autoantibodies recognizing citrullinated epitopes is caused by a failure of central or peripheral tolerance mechanisms.

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Anti-peptidyl-citrulline, clone F95 Antibody, clone F95, from mouse