Structural analysis of a peptide--HLA class II complex: identification of critical interactions for its formation and recognition by T cell receptor

J B Rothbard, R Busch, K Howland, V Bal, C Fenton, W R Taylor, J R Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An assay for the binding of peptides to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II proteins on the surface of cells has been used to determine the relative importance of the amino acids composing an influenza haemagglutinin T cell determinant in binding. The important contact residues were identified by the effect substitution of each residue with biotinylated lysine had on the ability of the peptide to bind. The spacing of the critical residues within the peptide sequence was consistent with the central core, of approximately eight amino acids, adopting a helical conformation. The terminal residues were less constrained and might not be part of a regular conformation. Increasing the helical propensity of the determinant, by simply acetylating and amidating the peptide, resulted in an analogue that was able to stimulate a specific T cell clone at significantly lower concentrations than the natural sequence. A potential location for the peptide in the binding site was postulated based on the presence of complementary amino acids in the class II molecule and supported by screening a large number of peptide analogues for their ability either to bind the restriction element or to stimulate T cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-86
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids
  • Binding Sites
  • HLA-D Antigens
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Peptides
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell

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