Allorecognition of HLA-DP by CD4+T cells is affected by polymorphism in its alpha chain

Nina Lauterbach, Pietro Crivello, Lotte Wieten, Laura Zito, Mathijs Groeneweg, Christina E. M. Voorter, Katharina Fleischhauer, Marcel G. J. Tilanus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Alloreactivity to HLA-DP molecules, class II heterodimers of an oligomorphic alpha and a polymorphic beta chain, is increasingly being studied due to its relevance in clinical transplantation. We hypothesized that not only polymorphisms in the peptide binding groove encoded by exon 2 of HLA-DPB1, but also in other regions of the molecule and the alpha chain, could play a role in CD4+ T cell allorecognition. To test this possibility, we comparatively investigated CD4+ T cell allorecognition, measured by upregulation of the activation marker CD137, against HLA-DPB1*13:01, *05:01, *03:01, *17:01 or their allele counter parts DPB1*107:01, *135:01, *104:01, *131:01, with identical exon 2 sequences but polymorphism in exons 1,3 or 4, in the context of different HLA-DPA1 (DPA1) polymorphisms (DPA1*01:03 and *02:01). No significant differences in CD4+ T cell allorecognition levels could be demonstrated for any of the beyond exon 2 DPB1 variants studied. Interestingly, however, the mean fold change in CD4+ CD137+ cells was significantly higher when the target shared at least one DPA1 allele with the allogeneic stimulator, compared to a distinct DPA1 background (1.65 vs 0.23, P <0.005). Structural homology modeling suggested specific amino acid residues in the alpha chain, in particular position 31, to impact CD4+ T cell allorecognition of HLA-DP. Our data argue against a significant role of beyond exon 2 DPB1 polymorphisms for T cell alloreactivity, but show relevance of DPA1 polymorphism in this mechanism. These new findings impact HLA matching strategies in unrelated stem cell transplantation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • HLA-DPA1
  • HLA-DPB1
  • Allorecognition


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