Photocrosslinkable pMHC monomers stain T cells specifically and cause ligand-bound TCRs to be 'preferentially' transported to the cSMAC.
ABSTRACT: The binding of T cell antigen receptors (TCRs) to specific complexes of peptide and major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) is typically of very low affinity, which necessitates the use of multimeric pMHC complexes to label T lymphocytes stably. We report here the development of pMHC complexes able to be crosslinked by ultraviolet irradiation; even as monomers, these efficiently and specifically stained cognate T cells. We also used this reagent to probe T cell activation and found that a covalently bound pMHC was more stimulatory than an agonist pMHC on lipid bilayers. This finding suggested that serial engagement of TCRs is dispensable for activation when a substantial fraction of TCRs are stably engaged. Finally, pMHC-bound TCRs were 'preferentially' transported into the central supramolecular activation cluster after activation, which suggested that ligand engagement enabled linkage of the TCR and its associated CD3 signaling molecules to the cytoskeleton.
Project description:The T-cell receptor (TCR) interacts with peptide-major histocompatibility complexes (pMHC) to discriminate pathogens from self-antigens and trigger adaptive immune responses. Direct physical contact is required between the T cell and the antigen-presenting cell for cross-junctional binding where the TCR and pMHC are anchored on two-dimensional (2D) membranes of the apposing cells. Despite their 2D nature, TCR-pMHC binding kinetics have only been analysed three-dimensionally (3D) with a varying degree of correlation with the T-cell responsiveness. Here we use two mechanical assays to show high 2D affinities between a TCR and its antigenic pMHC driven by rapid on-rates. Compared to their 3D counterparts, 2D affinities and on-rates of the TCR for a panel of pMHC ligands possess far broader dynamic ranges that match that of their corresponding T-cell responses. The best 3D predictor of response is the off-rate, with agonist pMHC dissociating the slowest. In contrast, 2D off-rates are up to 8,300-fold faster, with the agonist pMHC dissociating the fastest. Our 2D data suggest rapid antigen sampling by T cells and serial engagement of a few agonist pMHCs by TCRs in a large self pMHC background. Thus, the cellular environment amplifies the intrinsic TCR-pMHC binding to generate broad affinities and rapid kinetics that determine T-cell responsiveness.
Project description:TCRs relay information about peptides embedded within MHC molecules (pMHC) to the ITAMs of the associated CD3??, CD3??, and CD3?? signaling modules. CD4 then recruits the Src kinase p56(Lck) (Lck) to the TCR-CD3 complex to phosphorylate the ITAMs, initiate intracellular signaling, and drive CD4(+) T cell fate decisions. Whereas the six ITAMs of CD3?? are key determinants of T cell development, activation, and the execution of effector functions, multiple models predict that CD4 recruits Lck proximal to the four ITAMs of the CD3 heterodimers. We tested these models by placing FRET probes at the cytosolic juxtamembrane regions of CD4 and the CD3 subunits to evaluate their relationship upon pMHC engagement in mouse cell lines. The data are consistent with a compact assembly in which CD4 is proximal to CD3??, CD3?? resides behind the TCR, and CD3?? is offset from CD3??. These results advance our understanding of the architecture of the TCR-CD3-pMHC-CD4 macrocomplex and point to regions of high CD4-Lck + ITAM concentrations therein. The findings thus have implications for TCR signaling, as phosphorylation of the CD3 ITAMs by CD4-associated Lck is important for CD4(+) T cell fate decisions.
Project description:CD4+ and CD8+ ?? T cell antigen recognition is determined by the interaction between the TCR Complementarity Determining Region (CDR) loops and the peptide-presenting MHC complex. These T cells are known for their ability to recognize multiple pMHC complexes, and for a necessary promiscuity that is required for their selection and function in the periphery. Crystallographic studies have previously elucidated the role of structural interactions in TCR engagement, but our understanding of the dynamic process that occurs during TCR binding is limited. To better understand the dynamic states that exist for TCR CDR loops in solution, and how this relates to their states when in complex with pMHC, we simulated the 2C T cell receptor in solution using all-atom molecular dynamics in explicit water and constructed a Markov State Model for each of the CDR3? and CDR3? loops. These models reveal multiple metastable states for the CDR3 loops in solution. Simulation data and metastable states reproduce known CDR3? crystal conformations, and reveal several novel conformations suggesting that CDR3? bound states are the result of search processes from nearby pre-existing equilibrium conformational states. Similar simulations of the invariant, Type I Natural Killer T cell receptor NKT15, which engages the monomorphic, MHC-like CD1d ligand, demonstrate that iNKT TCRs also have distinct states, but comparatively restricted degrees of motion.
Project description:The major defense system against microbial pathogens in vertebrates is the adaptive immune response and represents an effective mechanism in cancer surveillance. T cells represent an essential component of this complex system. They can recognize myriads of antigens as short peptides (p) originated from the intracellular degradation of foreign proteins presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins. The clonotypic T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) is specialized in recognizing pMHC and triggering T cells immune response. It is still unclear how TCR engagement to pMHC is translated into the intracellular signal that initiates T-cell immune response. Some work has suggested the possibility that pMHC binding induces in the TCR conformational changes transmitted to its companion CD3 subunits that govern signaling. The conformational changes would promote phosphorylation of the CD3 complex ? chain that initiates signal propagation intracellularly. Here, we used all-atom molecular dynamics simulations (MDs) of 500 ns to analyze the conformational behavior of three TCRs (1G4, ILA1 and ILA1?1?1) interacting with the same MHC class I (HLA-A*02:01) bound to different peptides, and modelled in the presence of a lipid bilayer. Our data suggest a correlation between the conformations explored by the ?-chain constant regions and the T-cell response experimentally determined. In particular, independently by the TCR type involved in the interaction, the TCR activation seems to be linked to a specific zone of the conformational space explored by the ?-chain constant region. Moreover, TCR ligation restricts the conformational space the MHC class I groove.
Project description:MHC class I peptide complexes (pMHC) are routinely used to enumerate T cell populations and are currently being evaluated as vaccines to tumors and specific pathogens. Herein, we describe the structures of three generations of single-chain pMHC progressively designed for the optimal presentation of covalently associated epitopes. Our ultimate design employs a versatile disulfide trap between an invariant MHC residue and a short C-terminal peptide extension. This general strategy is nondisruptive of native pMHC conformation and T cell receptor engagement. Indeed, cell-surface-expressed MHC complexes with disulfide-trapped epitopes are refractory to peptide exchange, suggesting they will make safe and effective vaccines. Furthermore, we find that disulfide-trap stabilized, recombinant pMHC reagents reliably detect polyclonal CD8 T cell populations as proficiently as conventional reagents and are thus well suited to monitor or modulate immune responses during pathogenesis.
Project description:The discovery of naturally occurring T cell receptors (TCRs) that confer specific, high-affinity recognition of pathogen and cancer-associated antigens remains a major goal in cellular immunotherapies. The contribution of the CD8 co-receptor to the interaction between the TCR and peptide-bound major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) has previously been correlated with the activation and responsiveness of CD8+ T cells. However, these studies have been limited to model systems of genetically engineered hybridoma TCRs or transgenic mouse TCRs against either a single epitope or an array of altered peptide ligands. CD8 contribution in a native human antigen-specific T cell response remains elusive. Here, using Hepatitis C Virus-specific precursor CTLs spanning a large range of TCR affinities, we discovered that the functional responsiveness of any given TCR correlated with the contribution of CD8 to TCR/pMHC binding. Furthermore, we found that CD8 contribution to TCR/pMHC binding in the two-dimensional (2D) system was more accurately reflected by normalized synergy (CD8 cooperation normalized by total TCR/pMHC bonds) rather than synergy (total CD8 cooperation) alone. While synergy showed an increasing trend with TCR affinity, normalized synergy was demonstrated to decrease with the increase of TCR affinity. Critically, normalized synergy was shown to correlate with CTL functionality and peptide sensitivity, corroborating three-dimensional (3D) analysis of CD8 contribution with respect to TCR affinity. In addition, we identified TCRs that were independent of CD8 for TCR/pMHC binding. Our results resolve the current discrepancy between 2D and 3D analysis on CD8 contribution to TCR/pMHC binding, and demonstrate that naturally occurring high-affinity TCRs are more capable of CD8-independent interactions that yield greater functional responsiveness even with CD8 blocking. Taken together, our data suggest that addition of the normalized synergy parameter to our previously established TCR discovery platform using 2D TCR affinity and sequence test would allow for selection of TCRs specific to any given antigen with the desirable attributes of high TCR affinity, CD8 co-receptor independence and functional superiority. Utilizing TCRs with less CD8 contribution could be beneficial for adoptive cell transfer immunotherapies using naturally occurring or genetically engineered T cells against viral or cancer-associated antigens.
Project description:The ?? T-cell receptor (TCR) on each T lymphocyte mediates exquisite specificity for a particular foreign peptide bound to a major histocompatibility complex molecule (pMHC) displayed on the surface of altered cells. This recognition stimulates protection in the mammalian host against intracellular pathogens, including viruses, and involves piconewton forces that accompany pMHC ligation. Physical forces are generated by T-lymphocyte movement during immune surveillance as well as by cytoskeletal rearrangements at the immunological synapse following cessation of cell migration. The mechanistic explanation for how TCRs distinguish between foreign and self-peptides bound to a given MHC molecule is unclear: peptide residues themselves comprise few of the TCR contacts on the pMHC, and pathogen-derived peptides are scant among myriad self-peptides bound to the same MHC class arrayed on infected cells. Using optical tweezers and DNA tether spacer technology that permit piconewton force application and nanometer scale precision, we have determined how bioforces relate to self versus nonself discrimination. Single-molecule analyses involving isolated ??-heterodimers as well as complete TCR complexes on T lymphocytes reveal that the FG loop in the ?-subunit constant domain allosterically controls both the variable domain module's catch bond lifetime and peptide discrimination via force-driven conformational transition. In contrast to integrins, the TCR interrogates its ligand via a strong force-loaded state with release through a weakened, extended state. Our work defines a key element of TCR mechanotransduction, explaining why the FG loop structure evolved for adaptive immunity in ?? but not ??TCRs or immunoglobulins.
Project description:Given the limited set of T cell receptor (TCR) V genes that are used to create TCRs that are reactive to different ligands, such as major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, MHC class II, and MHC-like proteins (for example, MIC molecules and CD1 molecules), the V?1 segment can be rearranged with D?-J?-C? or J?-C? segments to form classical ??TCRs or uncommon ??TCRs using a V?1 segment (?/??TCR). Here we have determined two complex structures of the ?/??TCRs (S19-2 and TU55) bound to different locus-disparate MHC class I molecules with HIV peptides (HLA-A*2402-Nef138-10 and HLA-B*3501-Pol448-9). The overall binding modes resemble those of classical ??TCRs but display a strong tilt binding geometry of the V?1 domain toward the HLA ?1 helix, due to a conserved extensive interaction between the CDR1? loop and the N-terminal region of the ?1 helix (mainly in position 62). The aromatic amino acids of the CDR1? loop exploit different conformations ("aromatic ladder" or "aromatic hairpin") to accommodate distinct MHC helical scaffolds. This tolerance helps to explain how a particular TCR V region can similarly dock onto multiple MHC molecules and thus may potentially explain the nature of TCR cross-reactivity. In addition, the length of the CDR3? loop could affect the extent of tilt binding of the V?1 domain, and adaptively, the pairing V? domains adjust their mass centers to generate differential MHC contacts, hence probably ensuring TCR specificity for a certain peptide-MHC class I (pMHC-I). Our data have provided further structural insights into the TCR recognition of classical pMHC-I molecules, unifying cross-reactivity and specificity.IMPORTANCE The specificity of ?? T cell recognition is determined by the CDR loops of the ??TCR, and the general mode of binding of ??TCRs to pMHC has been established over the last decade. Due to the intrinsic genomic structure of the TCR ?/? chain locus, some V? segments can rearrange with the C? segment, forming a hybrid V?C?V?C? TCR, the ?/??TCR. However, the basis for the molecular recognition of such TCRs of their ligands is elusive. Here an ??TCR using the V?1 segment, S19-2, was isolated from an HIV-infected patient in an HLA-A*24:02-restricted manner. We then solved the crystal structures of the S19-2 TCR and another ?/??TCR, TU55, bound to their respective ligands, revealing a conserved V?1 binding feature. Further binding kinetics analysis revealed that the S19-2 and TU55 TCRs bind pHLA very tightly and in a long-lasting manner. Our results illustrate the mode of binding of a TCR using the V?1 segment to its ligand, virus-derived pHLA.
Project description:The recognition events that mediate adaptive cellular immunity and regulate antibody responses depend on intercellular contacts between T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). T-cell signalling is initiated at these contacts when surface-expressed T-cell receptors (TCRs) recognize peptide fragments (antigens) of pathogens bound to major histocompatibility complex molecules (pMHC) on APCs. This, along with engagement of adhesion receptors, leads to the formation of a specialized junction between T cells and APCs, known as the immunological synapse, which mediates efficient delivery of effector molecules and intercellular signals across the synaptic cleft. T-cell recognition of pMHC and the adhesion ligand intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) on supported planar bilayers recapitulates the domain organization of the immunological synapse, which is characterized by central accumulation of TCRs, adjacent to a secretory domain, both surrounded by an adhesive ring. Although accumulation of TCRs at the immunological synapse centre correlates with T-cell function, this domain is itself largely devoid of TCR signalling activity, and is characterized by an unexplained immobilization of TCR-pMHC complexes relative to the highly dynamic immunological synapse periphery. Here we show that centrally accumulated TCRs are located on the surface of extracellular microvesicles that bud at the immunological synapse centre. Tumour susceptibility gene 101 (TSG101) sorts TCRs for inclusion in microvesicles, whereas vacuolar protein sorting 4 (VPS4) mediates scission of microvesicles from the T-cell plasma membrane. The human immunodeficiency virus polyprotein Gag co-opts this process for budding of virus-like particles. B cells bearing cognate pMHC receive TCRs from T cells and initiate intracellular signals in response to isolated synaptic microvesicles. We conclude that the immunological synapse orchestrates TCR sorting and release in extracellular microvesicles. These microvesicles deliver transcellular signals across antigen-dependent synapses by engaging cognate pMHC on APCs.