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In human type 1 diabetes (T1D) and in its murine model, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules, human leukocyte antigens (HLA)-DQ and -DR and their murine orthologues, IA and IE, are the major genetic determinants. In this report, we have ranked HLA class II molecule-associated T1D risk in a two-sided gradient from very high to very low. Very low risk corresponded to dominant protection from T1D. We predicted the protein structure of DQ by using the published crystal structures of different allotypes of the murine orthologue of DQ, IA. We discovered marked similarities both within, and cross species between T1D protective class II molecules. Likewise, the T1D predisposing molecules showed conserved similarities that contrasted with the shared patterns observed between the protective molecules. We also found striking inter-isotypic conservation between protective DQ, IA allotypes and protective DR4 subtypes. The data provide evidence for a joint action of the class II peptide-binding pockets P1, P4 and P9 in disease susceptibility and resistance with a main role for P9 in DQ/IA and for P1 and P4 in DR/IE. Overall, these results suggest shared epitope(s) in the target autoantigen(s), and common pathways in human and murine T1D.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Mol Genet

Publication Date





2025 - 2037


Adolescent, Adult, Alleles, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Child, Child, Preschool, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Genes, MHC Class II, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, HLA-DQ Antigens, HLA-DR Antigens, Humans, Infant, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Polymorphism, Genetic, Transfection