Detailed analysis of the effects of Glu/Lys beta69 human leukocyte antigen-DP polymorphism on peptide-binding specificity

Tissue Antigens. 2003 Dec;62(6):459-71. doi: 10.1046/j.1399-0039.2003.00131.x.


The polymorphism at position beta69 of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DP molecule has been associated with susceptibility to several immune disorders and alloreactivity. Using molecular modeling, we have predicted a detailed structure of the HLA-DP2 molecule (carrying Glubeta69) complexed with class II associated invariant chain derived peptide (CLIP) and compared it with the form carrying Lys at beta69 (HLA-DP2K69). Major changes between the two models were observed in the shape and charge distribution of pocket 4 and of the nearby pocket 6. Consequently, we analyzed in detail the peptide-binding specificities of both HLA-DP molecules expressed as recombinant proteins. We first determined that the minimum peptide-binding core of CLIP for both HLA-DP2 and DP2K69 is represented by nine aminoacids corresponding to the sequence 91-99 of invariant chain (Ii). We then assessed the peptide-binding specificities of the two pockets and determined the role of position beta69, using competition tests with the Ii-derived peptide CLIP and its mutated forms carrying all the aminoacidic substitutions in P4 and P6. Pocket 4 of HLA-DP2 showed high affinity for positively charged, aromatic, and polar residues, whereas aliphatic residues were disfavored. Pocket 4 of the DP2K69 variant showed a reduced aminoacid selectivity with aromatic residues most preferred. Pocket 6 of HLA-DP2 showed high affinity for aromatic residues, which was increased in DP2K69 and extended to arginine. Finally, we used the experimental data to determine the best molecular-modeling approach for assessing aminoacid selectivity of the two pockets. The results with best predictive value were obtained when single aminoacids were evaluated inside each single pocket, thus, reducing the influence of the overall peptide/ major histocompatibility complex interaction. In conclusion, the HLA-DPbeta69 polymorphism plays a fundamental role in the peptide-binding selectivity of HLA-DP. Furthermore, as this polymorphism is the main change in the pocket 4 area of HLA-DP, it could represent a supertype among HLA-DP molecules significantly contributing to the selection of epitopes presented in the context of this HLA isotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Glutamic Acid / genetics
  • HLA-DP Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DP Antigens / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lysine / genetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • HLA-DP Antigens
  • Peptides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Lysine