Research highlight

Snapshots in celiac disease

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

April 29, 2014

The crystal structures of four different T immune cell receptors (TCRs) in complex with two gluten peptides that play an important role in celiac disease are reported this week in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. These findings help explain why particular TCRs appear more frequently in celiac patients.

Celiac disease is an inflammatory disorder triggered by gluten ingestion and leads to damage in the small intestine tissue. The disease affects around one percent of the population in Western countries, and the only available treatment is removing gluten from the diet.

Jamie Rossjohn, Frits Koning, Hugh Reid and colleagues isolated four different TCRs from celiac disease individuals and captured their structure during the central event in the disease: recognition of gluten peptides presented by HLA-DQ2, the variant of the peptide-presenting molecule that is associated with 90-95% of celiac cases.

In an accompanying News and Views article, Bana Jabri, Xi Chen and Ludvig M Sollid say that the workadvances our understanding of how immunodominant gluten peptides are recognized by selected TCRs in celiac disease and could provide insight into other autoimmune conditions.

doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2817

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