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Hum Immunol. 2012 Apr;73(4):376-81. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2012.01.016. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Evidence that HLA-DQ9 confers risk to celiac disease by presence of DQ9-restricted gluten-specific T cells.

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Centre for Immune Regulation and Department of Immunology, Oslo University Hospital-Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway.


We describe the gluten T-cell response of a DR7DQ2/DR9DQ9 heterozygous celiac disease patient (CD555). Interestingly, this patient had T cells recognizing gluten in the context of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules of both haplotypes. For the DR9DQ9 haplotype, DQ9 was identified as the antigen-presenting molecule. As DQ9 carries aspartate at DQ β57 but is otherwise identical to DQ8 and not considered associated with celiac disease, we aimed to characterize this DQ9-restricted T-cell response in detail. By fractionation of pepsin-trypsin digested gliadin we identified an epitope stimulatory for several T-cell clones. This epitope was identical to an epitope (DQ8-glut-1) previously identified in DQ8 patients. In CD555, this was the dominant DQ9-restricted epitope, whereas no T-cell response was found toward two other DQ8-restricted epitopes. These findings correlated with peptide binding data demonstrating that this epitope bound better to DQ9 than the two other DQ8-restricted epitopes. Although glutamine to glutamate exchange at P9 improved binding of all three epitopes to DQ8, no such effect was observed for DQ9. The differential ability of DQ8 and DQ9 to harness a negatively charged anchor at P9 may result in fewer potential gluten epitopes in DQ9 patients. Our data further indicate that DQ9 is a susceptibility factor for celiac disease.

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