Gene-wide association and candidate gene studies indicate that the greatest effect on multiple sclerosis (MS) risk is driven by the HLA-DRB1∗15:01 allele within the HLA-DR15 haplotype (HLA-DRB1∗15:01-DQA1∗01:02-DQB1∗0602-DRB5∗01:01). Nevertheless, linkage disequilibrium makes it difficult to define, without functional studies, whether the functionally relevant effect derives from DRB1∗15:01 only, from its neighboring DQA1∗01:02-DQB1∗06:02 or DRB5∗01:01 genes of HLA-DR15 haplotype, or from their combinations or epistatic interactions. Here, we analyzed the impact of the different HLA-DR15 haplotype alleles on disease susceptibility in a new "humanized"model of MS induced in HLA-transgenic (Tg) mice by human oligodendrocyte-specific protein (OSP)/claudin-11 (hOSP), one of the bona fide potential primary target antigens in MS. We show that the hOSP-associated MS-like disease is dominated by the DRB1∗15:01 allele not only as the DRA1∗01:01;DRB1∗15:01 isotypic heterodimer but also, unexpectedly, as a functional DQA1∗01:02;DRB1∗15:01 mixed isotype heterodimer. The contribution of HLA-DQA1/DRB1 mixed isotype heterodimer to OSP pathogenesis was revealed in (DRB1∗1501xDQB1∗0602)F1 double-Tg mice immunized with hOSP(142-161) peptide, where the encephalitogenic potential of prevalent DRB1∗1501/hOSP(142-161)-reactive Th1/Th17 cells is hindered due to a single amino acid difference in the OSP(142-161) region between humans and mice; this impedes binding of DRB1∗1501 to the mouse OSP(142-161) epitope in the mouse CNS while exposing functional binding of mouse OSP(142-161) to DQA1∗01:02;DRB1∗15:01 mixed isotype heterodimer. This study, which shows for the first time a functional HLA-DQA1/DRB1 mixed isotype heterodimer and its potential association with disease susceptibility, provides a rationale for a potential effect on MS risk from DQA1∗01:02 through functional DQA1∗01:02;DRB1∗15:01 antigen presentation. Furthermore, it highlights a potential contribution to MS risk also from interisotypic combination between products of neighboring HLA-DR15 haplotype alleles, in this case the DQA1/DRB1 combination.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology