High-resolution epitope mapping of anti-Hu and anti-Yo autoimmunity by programmable phage display

Brian O'donovan, Caleigh Mandel-Brehm, Sara E. Vazquez, Jamin Liu, Audrey V. Parent, Mark S. Anderson, Travis Kassimatis, Anastasia Zekeridou, Stephen L. Hauser, Sean J. Pittock, Eric Chow, Michael R. Wilson, Joseph L. Derisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paraneoplastic neurological disorders are immune-mediated diseases understood to manifest as part of a misdirected anti-tumor immune response. Paraneoplastic neurological disorder-associated autoantibodies can assist with diagnosis and enhance our understanding of tumor-associated immune processes. We designed a comprehensive library of 49-amino-acid overlapping peptides spanning the entire human proteome, including all splicing isoforms and computationally predicted coding regions. Using this library, we optimized a phage immunoprecipitation and sequencing protocol with multiple rounds of enrichment to create high-resolution epitope profiles in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from patients suffering from two common paraneoplastic neurological disorders, the anti-Yo (n=36 patients) and anti-Hu (n=44 patients) syndromes. All (100%) anti-Yo patient samples yielded enrichment of peptides from the canonical anti-Yo (CDR2 and CDR2L) antigens, while 38% of anti-Hu patients enriched peptides deriving from the nELAVL (neuronal embryonic lethal abnormal vision like) family of proteins, the anti-Hu autoantigenic target. Among the anti-Hu patient samples that were positive for nELAVL, we noted a restricted region of immunoreactivity. To achieve single amino acid resolution, we designed a novel deep mutational scanning phage library encoding all possible single-point mutants targeting the reactive nELAVL region. This analysis revealed a distinct preference for the degenerate motif, RLDxLL, shared by ELAVL2, 3 and 4. Lastly, phage immunoprecipitation sequencing identified several known autoantigens in these same patient samples, including peptides deriving from the cancer-associated antigens ZIC and SOX families of transcription factors. Overall, this optimized phage immunoprecipitation sequencing library and protocol yielded the high-resolution epitope mapping of the autoantigens targeted in anti-Yo and anti-Hu encephalitis patients to date. The results presented here further demonstrate the utility and high-resolution capability of phage immunoprecipitation sequencing for both basic science and clinical applications and for better understanding the antigenic targets and triggers of paraneoplastic neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfcaa059
JournalBrain Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • anti-Hu
  • anti-Yo
  • autoimmunity
  • paraneoplastic
  • phage display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'High-resolution epitope mapping of anti-Hu and anti-Yo autoimmunity by programmable phage display'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this