HLA-DQ2 - DQ2 Isoforms and DQ2 Haplotypes

DQ2 Isoforms and DQ2 Haplotypes

Understanding DQ Haplotypes and DQ isoforms
DQ haplotypes
Each individual has 22 pairs of autosomes. The HLA complex in humans is a large region, ~3 million nucleotides, on chromosome 6, within this region there are a large number of genes. The DQ represent 2 genetic loci that lie next to each other. One gene is called DQA1 and the other is called DQB1. There are many alleles at each genetic locus. Further information: HLA-DQ, HLA-DQA1, HLA-DQB1

DQ antigen, a cell surface receptor, is composed of two polypeptide subunits. There are dozens of alleles at each locus and many create unique subunit isoforms. There are a large number of possible combinations. Evolution of humans has limited the most common isoforms. These are more common isoforms encoded by haplotypes, almost all of the time, one passed without change from a persons mother and father from conception. Each allele at each locus has an official name. For the alpha subunit the names are given by the gene-alleles. For example the major DQ1 alleles are given as DQA1*0101, *0102, *0103, *0104. DQ1 refers to the DQ α1 groups of isoforms (historically by serotype) which is the 01 portion of the allele number, the last two digits identify a specific allele in that group. All other DQ serotypes refer to beta chain groups — DQ2, DQ3-(DQ7, DQ8, DQ9), DQ4, DQ5, DQ6. A common way to write a phenotype (both alleles a person has) as DQA1*0101/*0102. This is not enough information to identify a persons isoforms. We also need information about beta chain, the best way to do this is to refer to common haplotypes. HLA-DQ haplotypes are commonly written in a style: HLA-DQA1*0101:DQB1*0501. When considering a persons haplo-phenotype the form DQA1*0102:DQB1*0602/DQA1*0501:DQB1*0201 is the same as DQA1*0102/*0501 DQB1*0602/*0201. When drawn out the form can be used to identify all potential isoforms. (See image below)

There are many potential DQ isoforms as a result of cis- and trans-haplotype pairing (see image on left). Of course the cis-haplotypes are more common. Typically most individuals can produce 4 isoforms, but the 2 isoforms tend to be the most abundant. There are instances where this may not be true, such as when the two betas or two alphas are very similar in structure. Most important with regard to isoforms - different subunit isoform pairings can result in the binding of different foreign or self antigens. From a disease defense perspective the more different kinds of peptides that can be presented, the more likely the immune system will detect pathogens and remove them quickly. As a consequence the HLA genes are kept extremely variable in most mammalian populations relative to other genes.
DQ2.5 and gluten sensitivity

For coeliac disease however there appears to be one isoform that has a higher role. This isoform is DQ α5-β2 (DQ2.5). Because the beta chain is β2, historically it has been called DQ2. Not all DQ2 isoforms are pathogenic, but at least 2 appear to be more associated with disease. DQ2.5 isoform is not rare, 25% of Americans Caucasians carry the isoform, whereas >90% of people with coeliac disease carry the isoform. DQ2 is also increased in gluten-sensitive idiopathic neuropathy. The DQA1*0501:DQB1*0201 haplotype is the most frequent source of DQ2.5 isoform called DQ2.5cis. It is found in almost all celiacs and the haplotype is frequently called, also, DQ2.5 haplotype.

25% of celiacs are DQ2 homozygotes (HLA DQB1*02 homozygotes), only a small percent of these do not bear DQ2.5cis. This minority are invariably DQA1*0201:DQB1*0202 (DQ2.2cis homozygotes). The majority of DQ2 homozygotes are homozygotes of the DQ2.5 haplotype or DQ2.5 and DQ2.2 haplotypes. These DQ2 homozygotes tend to show increased mucosa damage and degradation and are at greatest risk for severe complications of coeliac disease, refractory disease, and enteritis associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL). Further information: DQ2.5, DQ2.2, DQ2 and coeliac disease, HLA DR3-DQ2 Risk for disease tends to be carried in families because of the DQ2.5cis encoding haplotypes. Atypically about 3% of coeliacs get DQ2.5 isoform as a result of trans-chromosomal encoding. This can occur because one DQ haplotype, DQA1*0505:DQB1*0301 (DQ7.5) produces an alpha chain in which the variable portion relative to DQA1*0501 is chopped off during processing to DQ heterodymer. Therefore it can produce the α5 subunit. The DQ2.2 haplotypes provide the β2 subunit, and consequently DQ7.5/DQ2.2 phenotype creates the DQ2.5trans isoform.

The DQ isoform has a complex genetic involvement in coeliac disease. And these involvements explain the majority of disease. One other haplotype exists that is associated with disease, although not as common in Europe, DQ8 is found to be involved in coeliac disease in peoples were DQ2 is not present. DQ8.1 haplotype encodes the DQA1*0301:DQB1*0302 haplotype and represents the overwhelming majority of all DQ8. DQ2.5 is generally highest in northern, islandic Europe, and the Basque of Northern Spain. Phenotype frequency exceeds 50% in certain parts of Ireland. DQ8 is extremely high in Native Americans of Central America and tribes of Eastern American origin, fortunately most of these peoples have retained a maize based diet.

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