Single Amino Acid Repeats Connect Viruses to Neurodegeneration.

We report on a high level of octapeptide matching between HCV, HIV-2,
MPV, MUV, EBV, HHV-6, and CMV, and human brain antigens that, when
altered, have been specifically associated with neuropathologies such as
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinocerebellar ataxia, frontotemporal
degeneration, Huntington disease, Parkinson disease, cognitive
impairment, aphasia and oculomotor apraxia. Quantitatively, the extent
of the viral octapeptide sharing with neurodegeneration-associated
proteins is in excess when analyzed in a stochastic expectation context.
Qualitatively, two main features characterize the peptide matching: 1)
many common sequences are single amino acid repeats, and 2) mostly, the
shared octapeptides are part of experimentally validated epitopes, thus
suggesting an immune crossreactive potential of the viral peptides
shared with brain antigens involved in neurodegeneration. The present
study may have relevance for peptide-based therapeutic approaches to
block potential autoimmune crossreactions in neurological diseases and
dysfunctional behavior.

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