It is estimated that 50-90% of the proteins in the human body are post-translationally modified. In the proper context, these modifications are necessary for the biological functions of a vast array of proteins and the effector functions of the cells in which they reside. However, it is now clear that some post-translational modifications can create new self antigens (Ags) or even mask Ags normally recognized by the immune system. In either case, they profoundly affect the recognition of Ag by bone marrow-derived cells, as well as their effector functions. How do post-translational protein modifications affect the processing of foreign and self Ags and what is their role in the origin of autoimmune responses?
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