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The Hidden Enemy Within: Non-canonical Peptides in Virus-Induced Autoimmunity (Lodha et al., 2022)


Senior Member
U.S., Earth
The Hidden Enemy Within: Non-canonical Peptides in Virus-Induced Autoimmunity (Lodha et al., 2022)

An article from Bhupesh Prusty about cryptic antigens, which are one way that viruses can cause auto-immunity.

To learn more about cryptic antigens, see:
How Viruses Cause Autoimmunity

Viruses play a key role in explaining the pathogenesis of various autoimmune disorders, whose underlying principle is defined by the activation of autoreactive T-cells. In many cases, T-cells escape self-tolerance due to the failure in encountering certain MHC-I self-peptide complexes at substantial levels, whose peptides remain invisible from the immune system.

Over the years, contribution of unstable defective ribosomal products (DRiPs) in immunosurveillance has gained prominence. A class of unstable products emerge from non-canonical translation and processing of unannotated mammalian and viral ORFs and their peptides are cryptic in nature. Indeed, high throughput sequencing and proteomics have revealed that a substantial portion of our genomes comprise of non-canonical ORFs, whose generation is significantly modulated during disease.

Many of these ORFs comprise short ORFs (sORFs) and upstream ORFs (uORFs) that resemble DRiPs and may hence be preferentially presented. Here, we discuss how such products, normally “hidden” from the immune system, become abundant in viral infections activating autoimmune T-cells, by discussing their emerging role in infection and disease. Finally, we provide a perspective on how these mechanisms can explain several autoimmune disorders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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