Primary structure and cross-reactivity

Peter van den Elzen pvandene at med.ucalgary.ca
Tue Dec 17 18:26:25 EST 1996

On 15 Dec 1996, Esch wrote:

> A common assumption about cross-reactivity is that it correlates with
> sequence homology.  When working with peptides, one commonly encounters
> cross-reactivity among peptides with little or no sequence homology.  This
> is not unexpected since short peptides frequently are "loose" and can
> assume varying shapes for antibody binding.  Does anyone have specific
> examples of unexpected cross-reactivities that are not explained solely on
> the basis of primary sequence information?
> Thanks,  Bob Esch

I believe, although I am not sure, that Copolymer-1 is an example of
cross-reactivity in the absence of homology. COP-1 is an upcoming
treatment for MS, and it is believed to work by inducing tolerance to MBP
epitopes, even though it has no specific homology to those epitopes. I may
not have this story quite straight, so maybe someone can correct me if I'm


Peter van den Elzen, Univ. of Calgary (pvandene at med.ucalgary.ca) 

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