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Mol Immunol. 1998 Oct;35(14-15):919-28.

Functional comparison of bovine, murine, and human beta2-microglobulin: interactions with murine MHC I molecules.

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Laboratory of Immune Cell Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1152, USA.


Fetal calf serum is a well known source of bovine beta2-microglobulin (beta2m) which can exchange with endogenous beta2m from, as well as promote peptide binding to, class I major histocompatibility (MHC I) molecules on cells cultured in vitro. Recombinant bovine beta2m was expressed and purified for direct functional comparison to human and murine beta2m for interactions with murine MHC I molecules H-2Kb, Db, Kd, Ld, and Dd. Bovine and human beta2m were equivalent in stabilizing MHC I heavy chains and facilitating peptide loading, suggesting similar affinities for murine MHC I heavy chains. The activity of murine beta2m was significantly weaker, consistent with previous work that demonstrated the lower affinity of murine human beta2m for murine heavy chains compared to human beta2m. Analysis of bovine beta2m in fetal calf serum revealed ten-fold higher concentrations than in adult bovine serum, levels shown to significantly affect MHC I stability and peptide loading. The ramifications for the study of MHC I molecules from cells in culture and the evolutionary implications of the higher affinity interactions of human and bovine beta2m are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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