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HLA-DQ8 (A1*0301, B1*0302) and -DQ2 (A1*0501, B1*0201) are both associated with diseases such as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and coeliac disease. We used the technique of pool sequencing to look at the requirements of peptides binding to HLA-DQ8, and combined these data with naturally sequenced ligands and in vitro binding assays to describe a novel motif for HLA-DQ8. The motif, which has the same basic format as many HLA-DR molecules, consists of four or five anchor regions, in the positions from the N-terminus of the binding core of n, n + 3, n + 5/6 and n + 8, i.e. P1, P4, P6/7 and P9. P1 and P9 require negative or polar residues, with mainly aliphatic residues at P4 and P6/7. The features of the HLA-DQ8 motif were then compared to a pool sequence of peptides eluted from HLA-DQ2. A consensus motif for the binding of a common peptide which may be involved in disease pathogenesis is described. Neither of the disease-associated alleles HLA-DQ2 and -DQ8 have Asp at position 57 of the beta-chain. This Asp, if present, may form a salt bridge with an Arg at position 79 of the alpha-chain and so alter the binding specificity of P9. HLA-DQ2 and -DQ8 both appear to prefer negatively charged amino acids at P9. In contrast, HLA-DQ7 (A1*0301, B1*0301), which is not associated with diabetes, has Asp at beta 57, allowing positively charged amino acids at P9. This analysis of the sequence features of DQ-binding peptides suggests molecular characteristics which may be useful to predict epitopes involved in disease pathogenesis.


Journal article


Int Immunol

Publication Date





905 - 911


Alleles, Amino Acid Sequence, B-Lymphocytes, Cell Line, Transformed, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Disease Susceptibility, HLA-DQ Antigens, Herpesvirus 4, Human, Humans, Ligands, Molecular Sequence Data, Peptides, Protein Binding