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Molecular Mimicry in Human Diseases

Guest Editors:
Luigi Buonaguro, MD, National Cancer Institute Pascale, Italy
Jamie Rossjohn, PhD, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Australia 

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 15 December 2024

© © Dr Erica TandoriThe Journal of Translational Medicine is calling for submissions to our Collection on Molecular Mimicry in Human Diseases.

Image description: 
Circles of mimicry, camouflage and deception  in nature and infection. From the centre of the image: Owl's eyes and butterfly wings, feelers that are wheat sheaths and neurons, sensing gliadin proteins. Bacteria tailing wheat, circled by garlands of Vitamin D3. Epstein Barr Virus stud the next layer alongside octopi hiding among sea ferns, HLA b27 and influenza virus. On the outer rim, T cells and receptors. 

Image credit: © Dr Erica Tandori

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This collection supports and amplifies research related to SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being

Meet the Guest Editors

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Luigi Buonaguro, MD: National Cancer Institute Pascale, Italy

Dr. Luigi Buonaguro is the Director of the Innovative Immunological Models at the National Cancer Institute - IRCCS “Pascale ”, Naples – Italy. He is an expert in identification and characterization of tumor antigens for preventive/therapeutic cancer vaccine development. His focus is mostly on shared tumor-associated antigens for off-the-shelf vaccines. Based on this approach, he has coordinated an European Consortium for the development and clinical evaluation in a Phase I clinical trial of the HEPAVAC therapeutic cancer vaccine for primary hepatocellular carcinoma ( In parallel, he is pioneering the homology between tumor antigens (TAAs) and virus/bacteria-derived antigens (MoAs) (molecular mimicry). In particular, he is contributing to understand the role and cross-reactive potency of the immune response elicited by MoAs as anti-tumor immunity in order to develop next-generation preventive/therapeutic cancer vaccines. According to Expertscape (, he is in 1st place in Italy, 10th in Europe and among the top 30 Scientists in the World for the item "Cancer VACCINE".

Jamie Rossjohn, PhD: Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Australia 

Prof. Rossjohn is known for his contributions to understanding the molecular basis underpinning immunity. He has used structural biology to explain how the TCR specifically recognises polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecules in the context of viral immunity and aberrant T- cell reactivity. He has unearthed structural mechanisms of HLA polymorphism impacting on drug and food hypersensitivities, as well as Natural Killer cell receptor recognition. He has pioneered our molecular understanding of lipid-based immunity by T cells, revealing that it can differ fundamentally from peptide-mediated adaptive immunity. Recently he has provided a structural basis of how vitamin B metabolites can be presented and recognised by the immune system, revealing a new class of antigen.  In 2022, Prof. Rossjohn was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

About the Collection

The concept of the molecular mimicry was originally introduced in the early 60's to define the similarity between antigens expressed by infectious agents and human cells. Since then, several reports have shown sequence and structure homologies between pathogen-derived antigens (viruses and bacteria) and cellular self-antigens with the induction of cross-reactive autoimmune immune responses. More recently, the molecular mimicry has been explored also in cancer. In particular, the high sequence and conformational homology between micro-organisms derived antigens (MoAs) and tumor antigens (TAAs) as well as the cross-reactive of T cells has been described. The implication in anti-cancer immunity and in cancer vaccine development is yet to be fully assessed. The aims and the scope of the collection is to collect the state-of-the-art of the knowledge about the role of molecular mimicry in human disease, including the TCR cross-reactivity, and the possible exploitation for preventive/therapeutic novel therapy development.

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original research articles as well as review articles. Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have read our submission guidelines. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Editorial Manager. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Fibrosis and Cancer Intersection" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer-review process. The peer-review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.