Objective: Alternative splicing of certain class I major histocompatibility complex pre-messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) is known to lead to generation of a cell-free soluble protein analog. This study was undertaken to examine whether this process occurs with HLA-B27, whether the process is modified by arthritis-causing bacteria, and whether the assembly of the soluble molecules follows the same pathway as the integral parent molecules.
Methods: Alternative splicing of pre-mRNA was analyzed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and assembly of soluble HLA-B27 by immunoprecipitation followed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and autoradiography.
Results: There was alternative splicing of the pre-mRNA of HLA-B27. The process could be amplified by invasion with Salmonella or Yersinia bacteria. The soluble HLA-B27 was assembled in a pathway similar to that of the parent molecule.
Conclusion: The association between arthritis-causing bacteria and HLA-B27 positive cells is a complex event. Soluble HLA-B27 is a potential key player.