Prof. dr. Peter Heeringa

Institution: Department of Pathology and Medical Biology, Vasculitis Expertise Center, University Medical Center, Groningen, Netherlands
Title: Analysis of glycosylation of Proteinase 3-ANCA IgG variable domains
Award: $49,500, one-year

ANCA associated vasculitides (AAV) are severe diseases that result from attack by one’s own immune system (autoimmune disease). This is caused by circulating proteins (autoantibodies) produced by cells from the immune system that target and activate white blood cells causing inflammation in small blood vessels throughout the body.

The research proposed in this project will study the autoantibodies that cause the inflammation. Antibody proteins are coated with sugars, the extent and composition of which determines their
function. In this project we hypothesize that the autoantibodies in AAV differ from “normal” antibodies with respect to the amount of sugar groups attached and therefore impacts their function. To this end, we will isolate the autoantibodies from patient’s blood and characterize in detail the extent and composition of the sugar coating. We expect this research will inform efforts to refine laboratory tests for AAV diagnosis and patient monitoring and, in the future, reveal whether interfering with the sugar coating of autoantibodies can be used for therapeutic applications.