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Immunodefic Rev. 1989;1(2):135-53.

Combined immunodeficiency with defective expression in MHC class II genes.

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Immunologie et Rhumatologie Pédiatriques, INSERM U 132, Hôpital des Enfants-Malades, Paris, France.


MHC class II deficiency is an inherited immunodeficiency disease characterized by the presence of a normal number of T and B lymphocytes and profound anomaly of cellular and humoral responses to foreign antigens. All bone-marrow-derived cells (including B lymphocytes, monocytes and activated T lymphocytes) and also enterocytes and endothelial cells do not express all HLA class II (DR, DQ and DP) molecules on their membrane. It is known that the proper recognition of foreign antigens depends on their presentation, together with HLA class II molecules, on the membrane of antigen-presenting cells. MHC class II deficient combined immunodeficiency confirms the important role of MHC gene products in immune-defence mechanisms. Patients suffer from repeated and severe infections that are frequently the cause of death. The defect in HLA class II expression is the consequence of a lack of synthesis of HLA class II alpha and beta chains in patients' cells. Studies performed at DNA and RNA levels showed that there was no gross abnormality of MHC class II genes and that mRNA for all HLA molecules was not detected in patients' cells. These results, together with segregation studies performed in several families, suggested that the defect in HLA class II gene expression involves a transacting regulatory factor. Direct transcription assays showed that the disease is characterized by an absence of HLA class II gene transcription. An analysis of the specific binding of nuclear proteins from patients' cell lines to HLA class II promotor showed that a specific protein, RF-X, which normally binds to a regulatory sequence common to HLA class II promotors, is affected in MHC class II combined immunodeficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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