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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jan 23, 1996; 93(2): 734–738.

Crystallographic analysis of endogenous peptides associated with HLA-DR1 suggests a common, polyproline II-like conformation for bound peptides.


The structure of the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecule HLA-DR1 derived from the human lymphoblastoid cell line LG-2 has been determined in a complex with the Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin B superantigen. The HLA-DR1 molecule contains a mixture of endogenous peptides derived from cellular or serum proteins bound in the antigen-binding site, which copurify with the class II molecule. Continuous electron density for 13 amino acid residues is observed in the MHC peptide-binding site, suggesting that this is the core length of peptide that forms common interactions with the MHC molecule. Electron density is also observed for side chains of the endogenous peptides. The electron density corresponding to peptide side chains that interact with the DR1-binding site is more clearly defined than the electron density that extends out of the binding site. The regions of the endogenous peptides that interact with DRI are therefore either more restricted in conformation or sequence than the peptide side chains or amino acids that project out of the peptide-binding site. The hydrogen-bond interactions and conformation of a peptide model built into the electron density are similar to other HLA-DR-peptide structures. The bound peptides assume a regular conformation that is similar to a polyproline type II helix. The side-chain pockets and conserved asparagine residues of the DR1 molecule are well-positioned to interact with peptides in the polyproline type II conformation and may restrict the range of acceptable peptide conformations.

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