University of Oulu

Martinsen, V., Kursula, P. Multiple sclerosis and myelin basic protein: insights into protein disorder and disease. Amino Acids 54, 99–109 (2022).

Multiple sclerosis and myelin basic protein : insights into protein disorder and disease

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Author: Martinsen, Vebjørn1; Kursula, Petri1,2
Organizations: 1Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Jonas Lies vei 91, 5020, Bergen, Norway
2Biocenter Oulu and Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Oulu, Aapistie 7, 90220, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-03-07


Myelin basic protein (MBP) is an abundant protein in central nervous system (CNS) myelin. MBP has long been studied as a factor in the pathogenesis of the autoimmune neurodegenerative disease multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is characterized by CNS inflammation, demyelination, and axonal loss. One of the main theories on the pathogenesis of MS suggests that exposure to foreign antigens causes the activation of cross-reactive T cells in genetically susceptible individuals, with MBP being a possible autoantigen. While a direct role for MBP as a primary antigen in human MS is unclear, it is clear that MBP and its functions in myelin formation and long-term maintenance are linked to MS. This review looks at some key molecular characteristics of MBP and its relevance to MS, as well as the mechanisms of possible molecular mimicry between MBP and some viral antigens. We also discuss the use of serum anti-myelin antibodies as biomarkers for disease. MBP is a prime example of an apparently simple, but in fact biochemically and structurally complex molecule, which is closely linked to both normal nervous system development and neurodegenerative disease.

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Series: Amino acids
ISSN: 0939-4451
ISSN-E: 1438-2199
ISSN-L: 0939-4451
Volume: 54
Issue: 1
Pages: 99 - 109
DOI: 10.1007/s00726-021-03111-7
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
3111 Biomedicine
3112 Neurosciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Bergen (incl Haukeland University Hospital). This work received no external funding.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit