• autoimmune diseases;
  • immunological synapse;
  • bifunctional peptide inhibitor (BPI);
  • antigenic peptide


In this review, we discuss T-cell activation, etiology, and the current therapies of autoimmune diseases (i.e., MS, T1D, and RA). T-cells are activated upon interaction with antigen-presenting cells (APC) followed by a “bull's eye”-like formation of the immunological synapse (IS) at the T-cell–APC interface. Although the various disease-modifying therapies developed so far have been shown to modulate the IS and thus help in the management of these diseases, they are also known to present some undesirable side effects. In this study, we describe a novel and selective way to suppress autoimmunity by using a bifunctional peptide inhibitor (BPI). BPI uses an intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1)-binding peptide to target antigenic peptides (e.g., proteolipid peptide, glutamic acid decarboxylase, and type II collagen) to the APC and therefore modulate the immune response. The central hypothesis is that BPI blocks the IS formation by simultaneously binding to major histocompatibility complex-II and ICAM-1 on the APC and selectively alters the activation of T cells from TH1 to Treg and/or TH2 phenotypes, leading to tolerance. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Med Res Rev., 32, No. 4, 727-764, 2012