Lack of the MHC class II chaperone H2-O causes susceptibility to autoimmune diseases

Robin A. Welsh, Nianbin Song, Catherine A. Foss, Tatiana Boronina, Robert N. Cole, Scheherazade Sadegh-Nasseri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


DO (HLA-DO, in human; murine H2-O) is a highly conserved nonclassical major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) accessory molecule mainly expressed in the thymic medulla and B cells. Previous reports have suggested possible links between DO and autoimmunity, Hepatitis C (HCV) infection, and cancer, but the mechanism of how DO contributes to these diseases remains unclear. Here, using a combination of various in vivo approaches, including peptide elution, mixed lymphocyte reaction, T-cell receptor (TCR) deep sequencing, tetramer-guided naïve CD4 T-cell precursor enumeration, and whole-body imaging, we report that DO affects the repertoire of presented self-peptides by B cells and thymic epithelium. DO induces differential effects on epitope presentation and thymic selection, thereby altering CD4 T-cell precursor frequencies. Our findings were validated in two autoimmune disease models by demonstrating that lack of DO increases autoreactivity and susceptibility to autoimmune disease development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3000590
JournalPLoS biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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