Allele-specific cytokine responses at the HLA-C locus: implications for psoriasis
Authors listChristian Hundhausen Anna Bertoni Rose K Mak Elisabetta Botti Paola Di Meglio Alex Clop Ute Laggner Sergio Chimenti Adrian Hayday Jonathan N Barker Richard C Trembath Francesca Capon Frank O Nestle
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder that is inherited as a complex trait. Genetic studies have repeatedly highlighted HLA-C as the major determinant for psoriasis susceptibility, with the Cw*0602 allele conferring significant disease risk in a wide range of populations. Despite the potential importance of HLA-C variation in psoriasis, either via an effect on peptide presentation or immuno-inhibitory activity, allele-specific expression patterns have not been investigated. Here, we used reporter assays to characterize two regulatory variants, which virtually abolished the response to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α (rs2524094) and IFN-γ (rs10657191) in HLA-Cw*0602 and a cluster of related alleles. We validated these findings through the analysis of HLA-Cw*0602 expression in primary keratinocytes treated with TNF-α and IFN-γ. Finally, we showed that HLA-Cw*0602 transcripts are not increased in psoriatic skin lesions, despite highly elevated TNF-α levels. Thus, our findings demonstrate the presence of allele-specific differences in HLA-C expression and indicate that HLA-Cw*0602 is unresponsive to upregulation by key proinflammatory cytokines in psoriasis. These data pave the way for functional studies into the pathogenic role of the major psoriasis susceptibility allele.