A plasmid-encoded peptide from Staphylococcus aureus induces anti-myeloperoxidase nephritogenic autoimmunity

Joshua D. Ooi, Jhih-Hang Jiang, Peter J. Eggenhuizen, Ling L. Chua, Mirjan van Timmeren, Khai L. Loh, Kim M. O’Sullivan, Poh Y. Gan, Yong Zhong, Kirill Tsyganov, Lani R. Shochet, Jessica Ryan, Coen A. Stegeman, Lars Fugger, Hugh H. Reid, Jamie Rossjohn, Peter Heeringa, Stephen R. Holdsworth, Anton Y. Peleg, A. Richard Kitching

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Autoreactivity to myeloperoxidase (MPO) causes anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV), with rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Here, we show that a Staphylococcus aureus peptide, homologous to an immunodominant MPO T-cell epitope (MPO409–428), can induce anti-MPO autoimmunity. The peptide (6PGD391–410) is part of a plasmid-encoded 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase found in some S. aureus strains. It induces anti-MPO T-cell autoimmunity and MPO-ANCA in mice, whereas related sequences do not. Mice immunized with 6PGD391–410, or with S. aureus containing a plasmid expressing 6PGD391–410, develop glomerulonephritis when MPO is deposited in glomeruli. The peptide induces anti-MPO autoreactivity in the context of three MHC class II allomorphs. Furthermore, we show that 6PGD391–410 is immunogenic in humans, as healthy human and AAV patient sera contain anti-6PGD and anti-6PGD391–410 antibodies. Therefore, our results support the idea that bacterial plasmids might have a function in autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3392
Number of pages14
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019


  • applied microbiology
  • autoimmune diseases
  • kidney diseases
  • vasculitis syndromes

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