What to do with HLA-DO/H-2O two decades later?

Robin Welsh, Nianbin Song, Scheherazade Sadegh-Nasseri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The main objective of antigen processing is to orchestrate the selection of immunodominant epitopes for recognition by CD4 T cells. To achieve this, MHC class II molecules have evolved with a flexible peptide-binding groove in need of a bound peptide. Newly synthesized MHC-II molecules bind a class II invariant chain (Ii) upon synthesis and are shuttled to a specialized compartment, where they encounter exogenous antigens. Ii serves multiple functions, one of which is to maintain the shape of the MHC-II groove so that it can readily bind exogenous antigens upon dissociation of the Ii peptide in MHC- II compartment. MIIC contains processing enzymes, one or both accessory molecules, HLA-DM/H2-M (DM) and HLA-DO/H2-O (DO), and optimal denaturing conditions. In a process known as “editing,” DM facilitates the dissociation of the invariant chain peptide, CLIP, for exchange with exogenous antigens. Despite the availability of mechanistic insights into DM functions, understanding how DO contributes to epitope selection has proven to be more challenging. The current dogma assumes that DO inhibits DM, whereas an opposing model suggests that DO fine-tunes the epitope selection process. Understanding which of these, or potentially other models of DO function is important, as DO variants have been linked to autoimmunity, cancer, and the generation of broadly neutralizing antibodies to viruses. This review therefore attempts to evaluate experimental evidence in support of these hypotheses, with an emphasis on the less discussed model, and to explore intriguing questions about the importance of DO in biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Antigen processing
  • H-2O
  • HLA-DM
  • HLA-DO
  • HLA-DR
  • MHC class II

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics


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