Structure and Function of the Myelin Proteins: Current Status and Perspectives in Relation to Multiple Sclerosis
Andreas G. Tzakos, Petri Kursula, Anastassios Troganis, Vassiliki Theodorou, Theodore Tselios, Christos Svarnas, John Matsoukas, Vasso Apostolopoulos and Ioannis P. Gerothanassis
Affiliation: Department of Chemistry, Section of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Ioannina,Ioannina GR-45110, Greece.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by demyelination and loss of neurological function, local macrophage infiltrate and neuroantigenspecific CD4+T cells. MS arises from complex interactions between genetic, immunological, infective and biochemical mechanisms. Although the circumstances of MS etiology remain hypothetical, one persistent theme involves immune system recognition of myelin-specific antigens derived from myelin basic protein, the most abundant extrinsic myelin membrane protein, and/or another equally suitable myelin protein or lipid. Knowledge of the biochemical and physico-chemical properties of myelin proteins and lipids, particularly their composition, organization, structure and accessibility with respect to the compacted myelin multilayers, becomes central to understanding how and why myelin-specific antigens become selected during the development of MS. This review focuses on the current understanding of the molecular basis of MS with emphasis: (i) on the physical-chemical properties, organization, morphology, and accessibility of the proteins and lipids within the myelin multilayers; (ii) on the structure-function relationships and characterization of the myelin proteins relevant to the manifestation and evolution of MS; (iii) on conformational relationships between myelin epitopes which might become selected during the development of MS; (iv) on the structure of MHC/HLA in complex with MBP peptides as well as with TCR, which is crucial to the understanding of the pathogenesis of MS with the ultimate goal of designed antigen-specific treatments.
Keywords: multiple sclerosis, proteins of the myelin sheath, mbp, mhc, tcr, docking, epitopes, structure
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