Autoantibody targets in narcolepsy

Anna Häggmark

A new study by researchers within the Human Protein Atlas project was just published in Autoimmunity .

The researchers analyzed the presence of autoantibodies in patients with vaccine-associated narcolepsy. In an initial screening, IgG reactivity to approximately 10000 protein fragments was investigated, revealing a large heterogeneity in which autoantibodies that are present in different individuals.

Anna Häggmark is the first author of the paper.

– Despite the individual differences in autoantibodies, we found 14 protein fragments with differential reactivity between narcolepsy patients and controls or between vaccine-associated and sporadic disease, she explains. After further analysis in an independent sample collection, we could confirm higher reactivity in narcolepsy patients for two antigens, methyltransferase-like 22 (METTL22) and 5'-nucleotidase and cytosolic 1A (NT5C1A).

Anna Häggmark has a master of science in biotechnology from KTH and is now working as a researcher in the Affinity proteomics group at the Science for Life Laboratory in Solna, Stockholm.

– In 2015 I received my PhD in the same group with a focus on neuroproteomic profiling and my current research is a continuation of the work performed during this time.

The group is focused on protein and autoimmunity profiling of human body fluids in the context of neurological disorders.

– By applying affinity proteomic methods, mainly represented by various microarray technologies, we have the possibility to analyze hundreds of proteins or potential autoantibodies in hundreds of samples in one single assay. This allows us to search for disease-associated profiles in large patient materials and to compare the levels of proteins and autoantibodies in for example blood or cerebrospinal fluid within and across related disorders.

After this publication, the group plans to further characterize the autoantibodies found, including epitope mapping and analysis of reactivity to the full-length versions of the proteins.

– In addition, we will include these potential novel autoimmune targets in analysis efforts within other diseases to evaluate their disease specificity, Anna Häggmark concludes.

Read the whole story in Autoimmunity.

Explore the two antigens METTL22 and NT5C1A in the Human Protein Atlas.

Frida Henningson Johnson