Computer-assisted analysis of molecular mimicry between human papillomavirus 16 E7 oncoprotein and human protein sequences
Definition: Molecular mimicry is defined as the theoretical possibility that sequence similarities between foreign and self-peptides are sufficient to result in the cross-activation of autoreactive T or B cells by pathogen-derived peptides
The ability of the immune system to distinguish between self and non-self molecules is an important property in maintaining tissue/organism integrity.
Molecular mimicry induced autoimmunity can occur when the non-self and host determinants are similar enough to cross-react, yet different enough to break immunological tolerance.
When high degrees of similarity are present between non-self (vaccine proteins) and self molecules, the breaking of the powerful self-tolerance mechanisms that avoid harmful self-reactivity seems unlikely.
Molecular Mimicry and food allergies