Objective: B27 subtypes associated with susceptibility to ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and those reported not to be associated with AS, are found to differ in the amino acids that are known in other HLA class I molecules to alter the requirements for tapasin and incorporation into the peptide loading complex. The purpose of this study was to examine the behavior of B*2704 and B*2705 in comparison with B*2706 and B*2709 during early events in HLA class I antigen expression, and determine if their behavior correlates with disease association.
Methods: Cell lines with nonfunctional tapasin were transiently transfected with different B27 subtypes and their site-directed mutants, and surface expression analyzed by flow cytometry. The association with the peptide loading complex was determined by immunoprecipitation of heterodimeric transporter-associated peptide and analysis of coprecipitated B27.
Results: Amino acids at positions 114, 116, and 152 in the different B27 subtypes were shown to perform key roles in defining a requirement for interaction with tapasin. Not all disease-associated alleles were expressed optimally in the absence of tapasin; furthermore, dependence on tapasin for cell surface expression did not correlate with disease association. Although B*2706, which is not associated with disease, exhibited a number of properties different from those of the disease-associated subtypes, these properties were not displayed by the non-disease-associated allele B*2709.
Conclusion: These results indicate that the ability to exhibit optimal cell surface expression in the absence of tapasin is not a prerequisite for susceptibility to AS.