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Volume 3, Number 3—September 1997


MHC and Infectious Diseases

Suggested citation for this article

To the Editor: The review on the importance of the majorhistocompatibilitycomplex(MHC)ininfectiousdiseasesbySinghetal. (Emerg Infect Dis 1997;3:41-9) failed to mention the potential role of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DM in conferring susceptibility to infectious diseases. HLA-DM is an MHC class II-like molecule essential for normal antigen processing and presentation (1). HLA-DM has been shown to function as a peptide editor, in that it influences the repertoire of peptides bound to HLA-DR. Furthermore, this influence occurs in an allele-specific fashion (2). In addition, HLA-DM polymorphisms have been reported to confer an increased relative risk for such varied entities as rheumatoid arthritis (3), kidney transplant rejection (4), and membranous nephropathy (5). Since HLA-DM is important in determining which peptides are immunogenic, it may be as important as MHC class II molecules in regulating the immune response and therefore in conferring susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Victor S. Sloan
Author affiliation: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA


  1. Busch R, Mellins ED. Developing and shedding inhibitions: how MHC class II molecules reach maturity. Curr Opin Immunol. 1996;8:518. DOIPubMed
  2. Sloan VS, Zaller DM. Allelic specificity of the influence of HLA-DM on peptide repertoire. Arthritis Rheum. 1996;39:S310.
  3. Pinet V, Combe B, Avinens O, Caillat-Zucman S, Sany J, Clot J, Polymorphism of the HLA-DMA and HLA-DMB genes in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 1997;40:8548. DOIPubMed
  4. Chevrier D, Giral M, Bignon JD, Muller JY, Soulillou JP. Impact of the "new" MHC-encoded genes (HLA-DMA, -DMB and LMP2) on kidney graft outcome. Hum Immunol. 1996;47:O717. DOI
  5. Giral M, Chevrier D, Muller JY, Bignon JD, Soulillou JP. TAP1*0201 and HLA-DMA*0103 markers and severe forms of membranous nephropathy. Hum Immunol 1996;47:0140.

Suggested citation: Sloan VS. MHC and Infectious Diseases [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 1997, Sep [date cited]. Available from

DOI: 10.3201/eid0303.970326

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