Structural Basis of Molecular Mimicry
Infectious agents are thought to play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases. Sequence similarity between infectious agents and self-proteins (molecular mimicry) has been proposed as a mechanism for the induction of autoimmunity . However, it has been difficult to identify microbial peptides that activate autoreactive T cells using conventional sequence alignments. This chapter reviews progress made in the identification of such microbial peptides based on the analysis of structural features that are important for TCR recognition of MHC-bound peptides .