MHC class I molecules usually bind short peptides of 8-10 amino acids, and binding is dependent on allele-specific anchor residues. However, in a number of cellular systems, class I molecules have been found containing peptides longer than the canonical size. To understand the structural requirements for MHC binding of longer peptides, we used an in vitro class I MHC folding assay to examine peptide variants of the antigenic VSV 8 mer core peptide containing length extensions at either their N or C terminus. This approach allowed us to determine the ability of each peptide to productively form Kb/β2-microglobulin/peptide complexes. We found that H-2Kb molecules can accommodate extended peptides, but only if the extension occurs at the C- terminal peptide end, and that hydrophobic flanking regions are preferred. Peptides extended at their N terminus did not promote productive formation of the trimolecular complex. A structural basis for such findings comes from molecular modeling of a H-2Kb/12 mer complex and comparative analysis of MHC class I structures. These analyses revealed that structural constraints in the A pocket of the class I peptide binding groove hinder the binding of N- terminal-extended peptides, whereas structural features at the C-terminal peptide residue pocket allow C-terminal peptide extensions to reach out of the cleft. These findings broaden our understanding of the inherent peptide binding and epitope selection criteria of the MHC class I molecule. Core peptides extended at their N terminus cannot bind, but peptide extensions at the C terminus are tolerated.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy