Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Immunol. 2007 Mar;8(3):268-76. Epub 2007 Jan 28.

A T cell receptor flattens a bulged antigenic peptide presented by a major histocompatibility complex class I molecule.

Author information

Protein Crystallography Unit, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.


Plasticity of the T cell receptor (TCR) is a hallmark of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted T cell recognition. However, it is unclear whether interactions of TCR and peptide-MHC class I (pMHCI) always conform to this paradigm. Here we describe the structure of a TCR, ELS4, in its non-ligand-bound form and in complex with a prominent 'bulged' Epstein-Barr virus peptide bound to HLA-B(*)3501. This complex was atypical of previously characterized TCR-pMHCI interactions in that a rigid face of the TCR crumpled the bulged antigenic determinant. This peptide 'bulldozing' created a more featureless pMHCI determinant, allowing the TCR to maximize MHC class I contacts essential for MHC class I restriction of TCR recognition. Our findings represent a mechanism of antigen recognition whereby the plasticity of the T cell response is dictated mainly by adjustments in the MHC-bound peptide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center