Evaluating the role of HLA-DQ polymorphisms on immune response to bacterial superantigens using transgenic mice

G. Rajagopalan, G. Polich, M. M. Sen, M. Singh, B. E. Epstein, A. K. Lytle, M. S. Rouse, R. Patel, C. S. David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Bacterial superantigens bind directly to human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II molecules and vigorously activate T cells expressing certain T-cell receptor variable region families. As interaction with HLA class II molecules is the primary step in this process, polymorphic variations in HLA class II can determine the extent of superantigen binding to HLA class II molecules, govern the magnitude of immune activation induced by given superantigens and determine the outcome of superantigen-mediated diseases. As direct assessment of the influence of HLA class II polymorphism in humans is impossible because of expression of more than one HLA class II alleles in a given individual and toxicity of superantigens, transgenic mice expressing HLA-DQ6 (HLA-DQA1*0103 and HLA-DQB1*0601) and HLA-DQ8 (HLA-DQA1*0301 and HLA-DQB1*0302) were used to achieve this goal. HLA-DQ6 and HLA-DQ8 elicited comparable in vitro and in vivo immune response to staphylococcal enterotoxins (SE) A, SEB, SEH and SEK, toxic shock syndrome toxin-1, streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin (SPE) A and SPEC and streptococcal mitogenic exotoxin Z (SMEZ). However, each superantigen had a unique T-cell receptor activation profile. In vivo challenge with Streptococcus pyogenes, H305, capable of elaborating SPEA and SMEZ, yielded a similar clinical outcome in HLA-DQ6 and HLA-DQ8 transgenic mice. In conclusion, HLA-DQ6 and HLA-DQ8 elicited comparable response to certain bacterial superantigens. Our report highlights the advantages of HLA class II transgenic mice in such studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Antigens
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Cytokines
  • Rodents
  • T-cell response
  • Toxic shock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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