AbstractPurpose of review
The differential association of HLA-B27 subtypes with ankylosing spondylitis provides the rationale for a comparative investigation of these proteins. Results from the last 2 years of research on minimally distinct HLA-B27 subtypes, primarily using biochemical and biophysical techniques, are presented and discussed.Recent findings
We summarize evidence that micropolymorphisms within the molecules’ peptide-binding groove influence wide-ranging biochemical, biophysical and antigenic properties of HLA-B27 molecules, and suggest that distinct, subtype and peptide-dependent dynamics of peptide – heavy chain – β2-microglobulin heterotrimers could be instrumental for an understanding of the initiation of disease processes that are connected with certain HLA-B27 subtypes.Summary
The results indicate that mAbs that bind only to structurally distinguishable subsets of HLA-B27 molecules as well as techniques that assess the flexibility of these antigens may hold the key to comprehend molecular events contributing to the initial stages of disease pathogenesis in spondyloarthropathies.