Volume 5 Supplement 1

23rd European Workshop for Rheumatology Research

Open Access

Influence of HLA-DRB1 P4 binding pocket electric charge on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility

  • L Michou1, 2,
  • S Tezenas du Montcel3,
  • E Petit-Texeira2,
  • C Pierlot2,
  • I Lemaire4,
  • J Osorio2,
  • W Frigui2,
  • S Lasbleiz1,
  • P Quillet4,
  • T Bardin1,
  • F Clerget3,
  • B Prum5,
  • F Cornélis1, 2 and
Arthritis Res Ther20035(Suppl 1):71


Received: 14 January 2003

Published: 24 February 2003


HLA-DRB1 alleles coding for the shared epitope (SE), an amino acid motif in the third hypervariable region of the beta 1 chain of HLA-DR, are associated with RA. The underlying biological mechanism is unknown. A model was recently proposed (Reviron et al. Arthritis Rheum 2001; 44:535–540), based on the electric charge (EC) of the fourth antigenic peptide-binding pocket (P4) of the HLA-DR molecule. SE alleles carrying a strong positive EC at P4, the model postulates that the negative EC of the P4 has a protective effect for RA that modulates the effect of the SE.


To test that model, taking advantage of familial-based association analysis.


The DNA of 100 Caucasian French families with one RA patient and both parents were genotyped for HLA-DRB1. Genotypes were stratified in susceptible (S), neutral (N) and protective (P) groups: S for the genotype SE/SE and the genotype SE/EC+ (non SE allele with a positive EC); N for the genotype SE/EC- (non SE allele with a negative EC) and the genotype EC+/EC+; P for the genotype EC-/EC- and the genotype EC-/EC+.

The analysis was performed with a genotype relative-risk method comparing the RA patient genotypes with the virtual control genotypes reconstructed from parental untransmitted alleles. The expectations from the model were: S genotype more frequent in RA, N genotype with similar frequency in RA and controls and P genotype more frequent in controls.


The S genotype was more frequent in RA (55% versus 29%, P = 1.9 × 10-4), the N genotype had similar frequencies (33% in RA versus 29% in controls, not significant) and the P genotype was more frequent in controls (42% versus 12%, P = 1.8 × 10-6).


Our results are in keeping with a protective effect of the negative EC of the P4 HLA-DR pocket modulating the SE effect on RA susceptibility.

Authors’ Affiliations

Unité de Génétique Clinique, Hôpital Lariboisière
GenHotel/Laboratoire de Recherche Européen pour la Polyarthrite Rhumatoïde, ECRAF-Universités d'Evry et de Paris VII
INSERM U535, Le Kremlin Bicêtre
Laboratoire de Biologie, Centre Hospitalier Sud Francilien
Laboratoire Statistique et Génome


© BioMed Central Ltd 2003