Relating homology between the Epstein-Barr virus BOLF1 molecule and HLA-DQw8 β chain to recent onset Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus

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A role for the Epstein-Barr virus in initiating Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus has been proposed since Epstein-Barr virus BOLF1(497-513) AVTPL RIFIVP PAAEY has an 11 amino acid identity with HLA-DQw8 β (49-60) AVTPL GPPAAEY. Rabbit antisera to the BOLF1 (496-515) peptide crossreacted with the homologous DQw8 β (44-63) peptide but not with the related DQw7 β(44-63) peptide, which differed from the DQw8 peptide only in an ALA to ASP substitution in position 57. Antisera to DQw8 β(49-60) reacted with the DQw8 β(44-63) peptide and BOLF1 (496-515), but not with DQw7 β (44-63). The antiserum to the BOLF1 peptide bound to denatured class II major histocompatibility complex β chains from Epstein-Barr virus-transformed DQw8-positive lymphocytes in an immunoblotting analysis. Epstein-Barr virus antibodies were detected at equal frequencies and similar titres in sera of 30 patients with Type 1 diabetes (16 of 30;63%) and in sera of 20 non-diabetic control subjects (13 of 20;65%). Sera from diabetic patients did not bind to DQw8 β (44-63) or BOLF1(496-515) peptides. From these data we conclude that there is no simple relationship between serological evidence of Epstein-Barr virus infection and crossreactions between homologous Epstein-Barr virus and class II major histocompatibility complex peptides.


  • T. Sairenji
  • M. Daibata
  • C. H. Sorli
  • H. Qvistbäck
  • R. E. Humphreys
  • J. Ludvigsson
  • J. Palmer
  • M. Landin-Olsson
  • G. Sundkvist
  • B. Michelsen
  • Å Lernmark
  • T. Dyrberg
External organisations
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Linköping University
  • Washington University School of Medicine
  • Hagedorn Research Institute
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • class II MHC molecules, EBV BOLF1, Epstein-Barr virus, molecular mimicry, Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch