The search for new antigenic targets in myasthenia gravis.
Cossins J., Belaya K., Zoltowska K., Koneczny I., Maxwell S., Jacobson L., Leite MI., Waters P., Vincent A., Beeson D.
Around 80% of myasthenia gravis patients have antibodies against the acetylcholine receptor, and 0-60% of the remaining patients have antibodies against the muscle-specific tyrosine kinase, MuSK. Another recently identified antigen is low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 (Lrp4). To improve the existing assays and widen the search for new antigenic targets, we have employed cell-based assays in which candidate target proteins are expressed on the cell surface of transfected cells and probed with patient sera. These assays, combined with use of myotube cultures to explore the effects of the antibodies, enable us to begin to identify new antigenic targets and test antibody pathogenicity in vitro.