Although CD8+ T-cell-mediated autoimmune β cell destruction occurs in type 1 diabetes (T1D), the target epitopes processed and presented by β cells are unknown. To identify them, we combined peptidomics and transcriptomics strategies. Inflammatory cytokines increased peptide presentation in vitro, paralleling upregulation of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I expression. Peptide sources featured several insulin granule proteins and all known β cell antigens, barring islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein. Preproinsulin yielded HLA-A2-restricted epitopes previously described. Secretogranin V and its mRNA splice isoform SCG5-009, proconvertase-2, urocortin-3, the insulin gene enhancer protein ISL-1, and an islet amyloid polypeptide transpeptidation product emerged as antigens processed into HLA-A2-restricted epitopes, which, as those already described, were recognized by circulating naive CD8+ T cells in T1D and healthy donors and by pancreas-infiltrating cells in T1D donors. This peptidome opens new avenues to understand antigen processing by β cells and for the development of T cell biomarkers and tolerogenic vaccination strategies.
Keywords: antigen; autoimmunity; epitope; human leukocyte antigen (HLA); preproinsulin; proconvertase; secretogranin; transpeptidation; type 1 diabetes; urocortin.
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