Class Ib major histocompatibility complex (MHC) immunoglobulin domain of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) E; member of the C1-set of Ig superfamily (IgSF) domains
The members here are composed of the Class Ib major histocompatibility complex (MHC) immunoglobulin domain of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) E. HLA-E is the first human class Ib major histocompatibility complex molecule to be crystallized. Like other MHC class I molecules, HLA-E is a heterodimer consisting of an a heavy chain and light chain beta-2-microglobulin. HLA-E is highly conserved and almost nonpolymorphic, and has recently been shown to be the first specialized ligand for natural killer cell receptors. Class I MHC proteins bind antigenic peptide fragments and present them to CD8+ T lymphocytes. Class I molecules consist of a transmembrane alpha chain and a small chain called the beta-2-microglobulin. The alpha chain contains three extracellular domains, two of which fold together to form the peptide-binding cleft (alpha1 and alpha2), and one which has an Ig fold (alpha3). Peptide binding to class I molecules occurs in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and involves both chaperones and dedicated factors to assist in peptide loading. Class I MHC molecules are expressed on most nucleated cells.