Autoimmune disorders are a major cause of disease and disability, affecting more than 5% of the population. Sjögren’s syndrome is a rheumatic autoimmune condition affecting salivary and lacrimal glands, and in which Ro52/SSA is a major autoantigen. We have chosen the approach of studying both the biologic function of the target autoantigen Ro52, and the autoimmune response to Ro52 to understand molecular mechanisms leading to autoimmune disease. During pregnancy, Ro52 autoantibodies are transported across the placenta and affect the child. This may lead to development of a neonatal lupus syndrome, including a potentially lethal congenital heart block. Our project aims at specifying key steps in generation of the autoimmune inflammation in both mother and child, and to identify immunologic components participating in the tissue destruction. Our research is performed with a translational approach and involves both basic molecular studies, analysis in experimental models and clinical investigations.