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The transgenic Drosophila HLA-B27 : a new model for the study of spondyloarthritis

Abstract : Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is a chronic inflammatory rheumatic disorder characterized by joint manifestations affecting the spine, peripheral joints and entheses, as well as extra-articular manifestations such as psoriasis, uveitis, or intestinal inflammation. This complex disorder has a strong genetic component dominated by the HLA-B27 antigen of the major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I), which is present in more than 80% of SpA patients. Discovered 45 years ago, the association between HLA-B27 and SpA development remains unexplained. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this association at the molecular level, but all face experimental inconsistencies that seem to invalidate them. Therefore, it appeared to us essential to elaborate new and yet unexplored approaches in order to better understand the molecular role of HLA-B27 in SpA development. Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful genetic model that has led to considerable advances in understanding numerous functions of metazoan cells, as well as in describing the cellular and molecular processes of many human pathologies. To elucidate the molecular pathogenic mechanisms associated with HLA-B27, we have established several transgenic Drosophila lines for SpA-associated and non-associated of HLA-B alleles, as well as for the MHC-I invariant chain, the human 2-microglobulin (hβ2m). Expression of the HLA-B27 alleles, in the presence of hβ2m, in the Drosophila wing and eye led to two specific phenotypes. The crossveinless wing phenotype is due to a disturbance in the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signaling pathway. Interestingly, this misregulation is associated with a co-localization of HLA-B27 and the BMP type I receptor named Sax. Our preliminary results obtained in SpA patient cells suggest that HLA-B27 also colocalizes with ALK2 receptor, which is ortholog to Sax. Altogether, our results suggest that the pathogenic role of HLA-B27 in SpA may depend on a BMP signaling misregulation at the crosstalk between ossification and inflammation.
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Benjamin Grandon. The transgenic Drosophila HLA-B27 : a new model for the study of spondyloarthritis. Biochemistry, Molecular Biology. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLV051⟩. ⟨tel-02317352⟩

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