Margo C Honeyman
Margo Honeyman worked at The Walter and Eliza Hall for 20 years with Len Harrison (LH) on T-cell responses in pre-clinical type diabetes. She was first to discover in Caucasians the association of HLA-A24 with rapid progression of islet autoimmunity and loss of c-peptide post diagnosis. They were the first to map the HLA-DR3 and DR4-restricted T-cell epitopes in IA-2, GAD65, GAD67 and insulin, and correlate these with DR peptide binding. The identification of major epitopes in GAD and IA-2 led to the identification of almost identical sequences in rotavirus (RV). With Barbara Coulson she demonstrated direct damage to human beta cells in vitro, and from LH’s and Peter Colman’s Baby Diab study showed increased number and titre of islet antibodies post-RV infections in islet autoimmunity, also suggesting innate immune and/or molecular mimicry mechanisms in islet damage. With Lars Stene in George Eisenbarth’s CEDAR (blinded) study they showed an association of RV infections with the development of transglutaminase antibodies, also suggesting a role for RV in the development of coeliac disease. A mouse model of RV induced hyperglycemia now further suggests a role for innate immune initiation and exacerbation of islet autoimmunity.
Abstracts this author is presenting: