Class Ib major histocompatibility complex (MHC) immunoglobulin domain of Qa-1b; member of the C1-set of Ig superfamily (IgSF) domains
The non-classical mouse MHC class I (MHC-I) molecule Qa-1b is a non-polymorphic MHC molecule with an important function in innate immunity. It binds and presents signal peptides of classical MHC-I molecules at the cell surface and, as such, act as an indirect sensor for the normal expression of MHC-I molecules. This signal peptide dominantly accommodated in the groove of Qa-1b is called Qdm, for Qa-1 determinant modifier, and its amino acid sequence AMAPRTLLL is highly conserved among mammalian species. The Qdm/Qa-1b complex serves as a ligand for the germ-line encoded heterodimeric CD94/NKG2A receptors expressed on natural killer (NK) cells and activated CD8+ T cells and transduces inhibitory signals to these lymphocytes. Thus, upon binding, Qa-1b signals NK cells not to engage in cell lysis. The molecular basis of Qa-1b function is unclear.