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Immunity. 1995 Jul;3(1):51-63.

Structural analysis of TCR-ligand interactions studied on H-2Kd-restricted cloned CTL specific for a photoreactive peptide derivative.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of Lausanne, Epalinges, Switzerland.


To study the interaction of the TCR with its ligand, the complex of a MHC molecule and an antigenic peptide, we modified a TCR contact residue of a H-2Kd-restricted antigenic peptide with photoreactive 4-azidobenzoic acid. The photoreactive group was a critical component of the epitope recognized by CTL clones derived from mice immunized with such a peptide derivative. The majority of these clones expressed V beta 1-encoded beta chains that were paired with J alpha TA28-encoded alpha chains. For one of these TCR, the photoaffinity labeled sites were mapped on the alpha chain as a J alpha TA28-encoded tryptophan and on the beta chain as a residue of the C' strand of V beta 1. Molecular modeling of this TCR suggested the presence of a hydrophobic pocket that harbors this tryptophan as well as a tyrosine on the C' strand of V beta 1 between which the photoreactive side chain inserts. It is concluded that this avid binding principle may account for the preferential selection of V beta 1 and J alpha TA28-encoded TCR.

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