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Hum Immunol. 2000 Dec;61(12):1339-46.

C-terminal epitope tagging facilitates comparative ligand mapping from MHC class I positive cells.

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University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.


Purification of specific class I molecules prior to peptide ligand characterization is complicated by the presence of multiple class I proteins in most cell lines. Immortalized B, T, and tumor cell lines typically express endogenous HLA-A, -B, and -C; and most individuals from which the cell lines are derived are heterozygous at these loci. Antibodies specific for a particular HLA molecule may be used for purification, but allele-specific antibodies can be biased by ligands occupying the peptide-binding groove. Through the use of C-terminal tagging, we have developed a method of soluble HLA production such that downstream purification does not skew the peptide analysis of the examined molecule. Comparison of peptides eluted from HLA class I molecules with and without C-terminal tags demonstrates that addition of a tag does not abrogate the peptide binding specificity of the original molecule. Both pooled Edman sequencing and mass spectrometric sequencing identified no substantial differences in peptides bound by untailed, 6-HIS-tailed, and FLAG-tailed class I molecules, demonstrating that the peptide specificity of a given molecule is not distorted by either tag. This production methodology bypasses problems with isolation of specific molecules and permits ligand mapping and epitope discovery in a variety of pathogen-infected and tumor cell lines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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