2011-06-12Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2011.03.003
HLA class I-associated diseases with a suspected autoimmune etiology: HLA-B27 subtypes as a model system
Hee, Chee Seng
Although most autoimmune diseases are connected to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II alleles, a small number of these disorders exhibit a variable degree of association with selected MHC class I genes, like certain human HLA-A and HLA-B alleles. The basis for these associations, however, has so far remained elusive. An understanding might be obtained by comparing functional, biochemical, and biophysical properties of alleles that are minimally distinct from each other, but are nevertheless differentially associated to a given disease, like the HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*27:09 antigens, which differ only by a single amino acid residue (Asp116His) that is deeply buried within the binding groove. We have employed a number of approaches, including X-ray crystallography and isotope-edited infrared spectroscopy, to investigate biophysical characteristics of the two HLA-B27 subtypes complexed with up to ten different peptides. Our findings demonstrate that the binding of these peptides as well as the conformational flexibility of the subtypes is greatly influenced by interactions of the C-terminal peptide residue. In particular, a basic C-terminal peptide residue is favoured by the disease-associated subtype HLA-B*27:05, but not by HLA-B*27:09. This property appears also as the only common denominator of distinct HLA class I alleles, among them HLA-B*27:05, HLA-A*03:01 or HLA-A*11:01, that are associated with diseases suspected to have an autoimmune etiology. We postulate here that the products of these alleles, due to their unusual ability to bind with high affinity to a particular peptide set during positive T cell selection in the thymus, are involved in shaping an abnormal T cell repertoire which predisposes to the acquisition of autoimmune diseases.
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