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Gluten-Specific T Cells Cross-React between HLA-DQ8 and the HLA-DQ2α/DQ8β Transdimer

November 11, 2011 -- Because susceptibility to celiac disease is associated strongly with HLA-DQ2 (DQA1*05/DQB1*02) and weakly with HLA-DQ8 (DQA1*03/DQB1*03), a subset of patients carries both HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. As a result, these patients may express two types of mixed HLA-DQ2/8 transdimers (encoded by DQA1*05/DQB1*03 and DQA1*03/DQB1*02) in addition to HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. Using T cells from a celiac disease patient expressing HLA-DQ8trans (encoded by DQA*0501/DQB*0302), but neither HLA-DQ2 nor HLA-DQ8, we demonstrate that this transdimer is expressed on the cell surface and can present multiple gluten peptides to T cell clones isolated from the duodenum of this patient. Furthermore, T cell clones derived from this patient and HLA-DQ2/8 heterozygous celiac disease patients respond to gluten peptides presented by HLA-DQ8trans, as well as HLA-DQ8, in a similar fashion. Finally, one gluten peptide is recognized better when presented by HLA-DQ8trans, which correlates with preferential binding of this peptide to HLA-DQ8trans. These results implicate HLA-DQ8trans in celiac disease pathogenesis and demonstrate extensive T cell cross-reactivity between HLA-DQ8 and HLA-DQ8trans. Because type 1 diabetes is strongly associated with the presence of HLA-DQ8trans, our findings may bear relevance to this disease as well.

Source: The Journal of Immunology