Identification of new autoantigens for primary biliary cirrhosis using human proteome microarrays

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 Sep;11(9):669-80. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.015529. Epub 2012 May 30.


Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic cholestatic liver disease of unknown etiology and is considered to be an autoimmune disease. Autoantibodies are important tools for accurate diagnosis of PBC. Here, we employed serum profiling analysis using a human proteome microarray composed of about 17,000 full-length unique proteins and identified 23 proteins that correlated with PBC. To validate these results, we fabricated a PBC-focused microarray with 21 of these newly identified candidates and nine additional known PBC antigens. By screening the PBC microarrays with additional cohorts of 191 PBC patients and 321 controls (43 autoimmune hepatitis, 55 hepatitis B virus, 31 hepatitis C virus, 48 rheumatoid arthritis, 45 systematic lupus erythematosus, 49 systemic sclerosis, and 50 healthy), six proteins were confirmed as novel PBC autoantigens with high sensitivities and specificities, including hexokinase-1 (isoforms I and II), Kelch-like protein 7, Kelch-like protein 12, zinc finger and BTB domain-containing protein 2, and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2C, subunit 1. To facilitate clinical diagnosis, we developed ELISA for Kelch-like protein 12 and zinc finger and BTB domain-containing protein 2 and tested large cohorts (297 PBC and 637 control sera) to confirm the sensitivities and specificities observed in the microarray-based assays. In conclusion, our research showed that a strategy using high content protein microarray combined with a smaller but more focused protein microarray can effectively identify and validate novel PBC-specific autoantigens and has the capacity to be translated to clinical diagnosis by means of an ELISA-based method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Argonaute Proteins / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoantigens / analysis*
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Carrier Proteins / analysis
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / immunology
  • Female
  • Hexokinase / analysis
  • Hexokinase / immunology
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary* / blood
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary* / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary* / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Array Analysis*
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteome / immunology
  • Repressor Proteins / analysis
  • Repressor Proteins / immunology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Zinc Fingers / immunology


  • AGO1 protein, human
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • KLHL6 protein, human
  • Proteome
  • Repressor Proteins
  • HK1 protein, human
  • Hexokinase