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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Jun 8;96(12):6581-6.

Catalysis of peptide dissociation from class II MHC-peptide complexes.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Certain peptides such as dynorphin A [dynA-(1-13)] enhance the release of antigenic peptides bound to class II MHC molecules at neutral pH. This enhanced release has been termed push off. Previous work has shown that the antigenic pigeon cytochrome c peptide PCC-(89-104) has at least two conformational isomers when bound to the class II MHC protein I-Ek. We have accordingly studied the push off of PCC-(89-104) from the complex PCC-(89-104)/I-Ek to see whether these isomeric conformations are distinguished by the push-off effect. A comparison of the association and dissociation kinetics of PCC-(89-104)/I-Ek in the presence of dynA-(1-13) shows that dynA-(1-13) does not simply replace PCC-(89-104) but rather acts catalytically. The major product is peptide-free I-Ek, which is receptive to further peptide binding. Evidence is presented that a two peptide-one MHC complex is formed in solution. This ternary complex represents the first step of the mechanism of push off. 19F NMR data are presented that indicate that dynA-(1-13) interacts specifically with only one of the two isomeric complexes of PCC-(89-104) and I-Ek. A push-off mechanism is proposed in which dynA-(1-13) binds outside the peptide binding groove. In a second step, the dissociation of one of the two isomers is specifically enhanced. Thus the push-off effect may be useful for identifying conformational isomers and for separating them.

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