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Positional identification of RT1-B (HLA-DQ) as susceptibility locus for autoimmune arthritis.

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) (2015-02-13)
Sabrina Haag, Jonatan Tuncel, Soley Thordardottir, Daniel E Mason, Anthony C Y Yau, Doreen Dobritzsch, Johan Bäcklund, Eric C Peters, Rikard Holmdahl
ABSTRACT

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with amino acid variants in multiple MHC molecules. The association to MHC class II (MHC-II) has been studied in several animal models of RA. In most cases these models depend on T cells restricted to a single immunodominant peptide of the immunizing Ag, which does not resemble the autoreactive T cells in RA. An exception is pristane-induced arthritis (PIA) in the rat where polyclonal T cells induce chronic arthritis after being primed against endogenous Ags. In this study, we used a mixed genetic and functional approach to show that RT1-Ba and RT1-Bb (RT1-B locus), the rat orthologs of HLA-DQA and HLA-DQB, determine the onset and severity of PIA. We isolated a 0.2-Mb interval within the MHC-II locus of three MHC-congenic strains, of which two were protected from severe PIA. Comparison of sequence and expression variation, as well as in vivo blocking of RT1-B and RT1-D (HLA-DR), showed that arthritis in these strains is regulated by coding polymorphisms in the RT1-B genes. Motif prediction based on MHC-II eluted peptides and structural homology modeling suggested that variants in the RT1-B P1 pocket, which likely affect the editing capacity by RT1-DM, are important for the development of PIA.

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