Cloning and sequencing of the gene that codes for the Klebsiella pneumoniae GroEL-like protein associated with ankylosing spondylitis

Microb Pathog. 1998 Jul;25(1):23-32. doi: 10.1006/mpat.1998.0210.


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the sacroiliac joints and vertebral column of unknown aetiology, but strongly related to the presence of the HLA-B27 antigen. The participation of bacterial infections as triggering factors have also been suggested. We have associated the 60 kDa heat shock protein of Klebsiella pneumoniae (HSP60Kp) with AS since we have previously demonstrated that most of the patients have IgG antibodies and active T cells that recognize preferentially this protein, but we have not yet identified the epitopes involved in the recognition. In order to know the amino acid sequence of HSP60Kp, and to be able to analyse in the future the relevant epitopes; we amplified by PCR and cloned the gene coding for this protein into the SmaI site of pUC19. The nucleotide sequence of the gene was obtained by the Sanger method using both manual and automatic techniques. Amino acid sequence of the HSP60Kp was deduced by translating the nucleotide sequence of the gene. The antigenic analysis of this sequence was compared to the antigenic analysis of the reported sequences of Escherichia coli GroEL and Yersinia enterocolitica HSP60. Using a software to predict HLA class I motifs, the nonapeptide (KRGIDKAVL) residues 117-125 of HSP60Kp showed a much higher affinity for HLA-B27 than the similar nonapeptide of E. coli GroEL and Y. enterocolitica HSP60. The only difference between the three peptides was in position nine. This finding could explain the association of AS only with the HSP60 of Klebsiella pneumoniae. On the other hand, hydrophilicity analysis, which indicates B cell epitopes, showed three similar strongly antigenic regions in the three proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Chaperonin 60 / genetics*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / immunology
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / chemistry*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / immunology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / microbiology*
  • Yersinia enterocolitica / chemistry
  • Yersinia enterocolitica / immunology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Chaperonin 60
  • HLA-B27 Antigen
  • Heat-Shock Proteins