HLA-DPB1 T-cell epitope (TCE) mismatching algorithm and rs9277534 SNP at the 39 untranslated region (39UTR) in the HLA-DPB1 gene are key factors for transplant-related events in unrelated hematopoietic cell transplantation (UR-HCT). However, the association of these 2 mechanisms has not been elucidated. We analyzed 19 frequent HLA-DPB1 alleles derived from Japanese healthy subjects by next-generation sequencing of the entire HLA-DPB1 gene region and multi-SNP data of the HLA region in 1589 UR-HCT pairs. The risk of acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) was analyzed in 1286 patients with single HLA-DPB1 mismatch UR-HCT. The phylogenetic tree constructed using the entire gene region demonstrated that HLA-DPB1 alleles were divided into 2 groups, HLA-DP2 and HLA-DP5. Although a phylogenetic relationship in the genomic region from exon 3 to 39UTR (Ex3-39UTR) obviously supported the division of HLA-DP2 and HLA-DP5 groups, which in exon 2 showed intermingling of HLA-DPB1 alleles in a non–HLA-DP2 and non–HLA-DP5-group manner. Multi-SNP data also showed 2 discriminative HLA-DPB1 groups according to Ex3-39UTR. Risk of grade 2-4 aGVHD was significantly higher in patient HLA-DP5 group mismatch than patient HLA-DP2 group mismatch (hazard ratio, 1.28; P 5 .005), regardless of donor mismatch HLA-DP group. Regarding TCE mismatch, increasing risk of aGVHD in patient HLA-DP5 group mismatch and TCE-nonpermissive mismatch were observed only in patients with TCE-permissive mismatch and patient HLA-DP2 group mismatch, respectively. Evolutionary analysis revealed that rs9277534 represented a highly conserved HLA-DPB1 Ex3-39UTR region and may provoke aGVHD differently to TCE mismatching algorithm, reflecting exon 2 polymorphisms. These findings enrich our understanding of the mechanism of aGVHD in HLA-DPB1 mismatch UR-HCT.
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