Structural and functional studies of the trans-encoded HLA-DQ2.3 (DQA1*03:01/DQB1*02:01) molecule.
J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 23. Epub 2012 Feb 23. PMID: 22362761
Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Norway;
MHC class II molecules are composed of one α-chain and one β-chain whose membrane distal interface forms the peptide binding groove. Most of the existing knowledge on MHC class II molecules comes from the cis-encoded variants where the α- and β-chain are encoded on the same chromosome. However, trans-encoded class II MHC molecules, where the α- and β-chain are encoded on opposite chromosomes, can also be expressed. We have studied the trans-encoded class II HLA molecule DQ2.3 (DQA1*03:01/DQB1*02:01) that has received particular attention as it may explain the increased risk of certain individuals to type 1 diabetes. We report theX-ray crystal structure of this HLA molecule complexed with a gluten epitope at 3.05 Å resolution. The gluten epitope is preferentially recognized in context of the DQ2.3 molecule by T-cell clones of a DQ8/DQ2.5 heterozygous celiac disease patient. This preferential recognition can be explained by improved HLA binding as the epitope combines the peptide binding motif of DQ2.5 (negative charge at P4) and DQ8 (negative charge at P1). The analysis of the structure of DQ2.3 together with all other available DQ crystal structures and sequences led us to categorize DQA1 and DQB1 genes into two groups where any α-chain and β-chain belonging to the same group are expected to form a stable heterodimer.