Among DR4-associated HLA-D antigens, distinct and consistent structural variations were found for the products of two human "Ia-like" loci, DR and DS. Analysis of neuraminidase-treated immunoprecipitated DR molecules from 15 HLA-DR4-associated HLA-D homozygous B-lymphoblastoid cell lines by two dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis identified five distinct DR beta chains. In addition, gel analysis of immunoprecipitated DS molecules identified three distinct DS beta chains. Altogether, five distinct DR4 haplotypes were defined according to the observed structural diversity of the DR and DS beta chains. These gene products presumably contribute the dominant polymorphisms recognized by T cells in mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). Thus, these studies indicate that the serologic specificity known as HLA-DR4 is not a single haplotype, but a determinant present on products of individual loci arrayed into distinctly different haplotypes. These findings suggest that distinct products of individual loci, rather than conventional HLA specificities defined by alloimmune sera, may represent the genetic markers relevant to HLA-D/DR associated diseases.

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