Cutting edge: HLA-B27 can form a novel beta 2-microglobulin-free heavy chain homodimer structure.
Allen RL., O'Callaghan CA., McMichael AJ., Bowness P.
HLA-B27 has a striking association with inflammatory arthritis. We show that free HLA-B27 heavy chains can form a disulfide-bonded homodimer, dependent on residue Cys67 in their extracellular alpha 1 domain. Despite the absence of beta 2-microglobulin, HLA-B27 heavy chain homodimers (termed HC-B27) were stabilized by a known peptide epitope. HC-B27 complexes were recognized by the conformation-specific Ab W6/32, but not the ME1 Ab. Surface labeling and immunoprecipitation demonstrated the presence of similar W6/32-reactive free heavy chains at the surface of HLA-B27-transfected T2 cells. HC-B27 homodimer formation might explain the ability of HLA-B27 to induce spondyloarthropathy in beta 2-microglobulin-deficient mice.