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Immunity. 2000 Jun;12(6):699-710.

Structural basis of peptide binding and presentation by the type I diabetes-associated MHC class II molecule of NOD mice.

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Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


We have determined the crystal structure of I-Ag7, an integral component in murine type I diabetes development. Several features distinguish I-Ag7 from other non-autoimmune-associated MHC class II molecules, including novel peptide and heterodimer pairing interactions. The binding groove of I-Ag7 is unusual at both terminal ends, with a potentially solvent-exposed channel at the base of the P1 pocket and a widened entrance to the P9 pocket. Peptide binding studies with variants of the hen egg lysozyme I-Ag7 epitope HEL(11-25) support a comprehensive structure-based I-Ag7 binding motif. Residues critical for T cell recognition were investigated with a panel of HEL(11-25)-restricted clones, which uncovered P1 anchor-dependent structural variations. These results establish a framework for future experiments directed at understanding the role of I-Ag7 in autoimmunity.

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