Hapten addition to an MHC class I-binding peptide causes substantial adjustments of the TCR structure of the responding CD8+ T cells

S. Honda, W. Zhang, A. M. Kalergis, T. P. DiLorenzo, F. Wang, S. G. Nathenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


T cell responses against hapten-modified peptides play an important role in the pathogenesis of certain diseases, including contact dermatitis and allergy. However, the structural features of TCRs recognizing bulky, potentially mobile hapten groups remain poorly defined. To analyze the structural basis of TCR recognition of defined hapten-modified peptides, the immunodominant octapeptide derived from vesicular stomatitis virus nucleoprotein (VSV8) was modified with a trinitrophenyl (TNP) group at the primary TCR contact residues (position 4 or 6) and used for immunization of mice carrying either the TCR α- or β-chain of a VSV8 (unmodified)/H-2Kb-specific CTL clone as a transgene. Such mice allow independent analysis of one TCR chain by maintaining the other fixed. The TCR V gene usage of the responding T cell population was specifically altered depending upon the presence of the TNP group and its position on the peptide. The CDR3 sequences of the TNP-modified peptide-specific TCRs showed a preferential J region usage in both the CDR3α and β loops, indicating that the J regions of both CDR3s are critical for recognition of TNP-modified peptides. In contrast to our previous observations showing the prime importance of CDR3β residues encoded by D-segment or N-addition nucleotides for recognition of position 6 of unmodified VSV8, our studies of TNP-modified peptides demonstrate the importance of the Jβ region, while the Jα region was crucial for recognizing both TNP-modified and unmodified peptides. These data suggest that different structural strategies are utilized by the CDR3α and β loops to allow interaction with a haptenated peptide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4276-4285
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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