A novel pathogenic RBP-3 peptide reveals epitope spreading in persistent experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis

Joanne Boldison, Tarnjit K Khera, David A Copland, Madeleine L Stimpson, Gemma L Crawford, Andrew D Dick, Lindsay B Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) in the C57BL/6J mouse is a model of non-infectious posterior segment intraocular inflammation that parallels clinical features of the human disease. The purpose of this study was to analyse the immune response to the four murine subunits of retinol binding protein-3 (RBP-3) to identify pathogenic epitopes to investigate the presence of intramolecular epitope spreading during the persistent inflammation phase observed in this model of EAU. Recombinant murine subunits of the RBP-3 protein were purified and used to immunize C57BL/6J mice to induce EAU. An overlapping peptide library was used to screen RBP-3 subunit 3 for immunogenicity and pathogenicity. Disease phenotype and characterization of pathogenic subunits and peptides was undertaken by topical endoscopic fundal imaging, immunohistochemistry, proliferation assays and flow cytometry. RBP-3 subunits 1, 2 and 3 induced EAU in the C57BL/6J mice, with subunit 3 eliciting the most destructive clinical disease. Within subunit 3 we identified a novel uveitogenic epitope, 629-643. The disease induced by this peptide was comparable to that produced by the uveitogenic 1-20 peptide. Following immunization, peptide-specific responses by CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell subsets were detected, and cells from both populations were present in the retinal inflammatory infiltrate. Intramolecular epitope spreading between 629-643 and 1-20 was detected in mice with clinical signs of disease. The 629-643 RBP-3 peptide is a major uveitogenic peptide for the induction of EAU in C57BL/6J mice and the persistent clinical disease induced with one peptide leads to epitope spreading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-11
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

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