Sequence-structure-function relationships in class I MHC: A local frustration perspective.
ABSTRACT: Class I Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) binds short antigenic peptides with the help of Peptide Loading Complex (PLC), and presents them to T-cell Receptors (TCRs) of cytotoxic T-cells and Killer-cell Immunglobulin-like Receptors (KIRs) of Natural Killer (NK) cells. With more than 10000 alleles, human MHC (Human Leukocyte Antigen, HLA) is the most polymorphic protein in humans. This allelic diversity provides a wide coverage of peptide sequence space, yet does not affect the three-dimensional structure of the complex. Moreover, TCRs mostly interact with HLA in a common diagonal binding mode, and KIR-HLA interaction is allele-dependent. With the aim of establishing a framework for understanding the relationships between polymorphism (sequence), structure (conserved fold) and function (protein interactions) of the human MHC, we performed here a local frustration analysis on pMHC homology models covering 1436 HLA I alleles. An analysis of local frustration profiles indicated that (1) variations in MHC fold are unlikely due to minimally-frustrated and relatively conserved residues within the HLA peptide-binding groove, (2) high frustration patches on HLA helices are either involved in or near interaction sites of MHC with the TCR, KIR, or tapasin of the PLC, and (3) peptide ligands mainly stabilize the F-pocket of HLA binding groove.
Project description:T cell-mediated immune recognition of peptides is initiated upon binding of the antigen receptor on T cells (TCR) to the peptide-MHC complex. TCRs are typically restricted by a particular MHC allele, while polymorphism within the MHC molecule can affect the spectrum of peptides that are bound and presented to the TCR. Classical MHC Class I molecules have a confined binding groove that restricts the length of the presented peptides to typically 8-11 amino acids. Both N- and C-termini of the peptide are bound within binding pockets, allowing the TCR to dock in a diagonal orientation above the MHC-peptide complex. Longer peptides have been observed to bind either in a bulged or zig-zag orientation within the binding groove. More recently, unconventional peptide presentation has been reported for different MHC I molecules. Here, either N- or C-terminal amino acid additions to conventionally presented peptides induced a structural change either within the MHC I molecule that opened the confined binding groove or within the peptide itself, allowing the peptide ends to protrude into the solvent. Since both TCRs on T cells and killer immunoglobulin receptors on Natural Killer (NK) cells contact the MHC I molecule above or at the periphery of the peptide binding groove, unconventionally presented peptides could modulate both T cell and NK cell responses. We will highlight recent advances in our understanding of the functional consequences of unconventional peptide presentation in cellular immunity.
Project description:Inhibition of natural killer (NK) cells is mediated by MHC class I receptors including the killer cell Ig-like receptor (KIR). We demonstrate that HLA-C binding peptides can function as altered peptide ligands for KIR and antagonize the inhibition mediated by KIR2DL2/KIR2DL3. Antagonistic peptides promote clustering of KIR at the interface of effector and target cells, but do not result in inhibition of NK cells. Our data show that, as for T cells, small changes in the peptide content of MHC class I can regulate NK cell activity.
Project description:?? T cell receptors (TCRs) interact with peptides bound to the polymorphic major histocompatibility complex class Ia (MHC-Ia) and class II (MHC-II) molecules as well as the essentially monomorphic MHC class Ib (MHC-Ib) molecules. Although there is a large amount of information on how TCRs engage with MHC-Ia and MHC-II, our understanding of TCR/MHC-Ib interactions is very limited. Infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) can elicit a CD8+ T cell response restricted by the human MHC-Ib molecule human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-E and specific for an epitope from UL40 (VMAPRTLIL), which is characterized by biased TRBV14 gene usage. Here we describe an HLA-E-restricted CD8+ T cell able to recognize an allotypic variant of the UL40 peptide with a modification at position 8 (P8) of the peptide (VMAPRTLVL) that uses the TRBV9 gene segment. We report the structures of a TRBV9+ TCR in complex with the HLA-E molecule presenting the two peptides. Our data revealed that the TRBV9+ TCR adopts a different docking mode and molecular footprint atop HLA-E when compared with the TRBV14+ TCR-HLA-E ternary complex. Additionally, despite their differing V gene segment usage and different docking mechanisms, mutational analyses showed that the TCRs shared a conserved energetic footprint on the HLA-E molecule, focused around the peptide-binding groove. Hence, we provide new insights into how monomorphic MHC molecules interact with T cells.
Project description:Killer Ig-like receptors (KIRs) are innate immune receptors expressed by NK and T cells classically associated with the detection of missing self through loss of their respective MHC ligand. Some KIR specificities for allelic classical class I MHC (MHC-I) have been described, whereas other KIR receptor-ligand relationships, including those associated with nonclassical MHC-I, have yet to be clearly defined. We report in this article that KIR3DL2 and KIR2DS4 and the nonclassical Ag HLA-F, expressed as a free form devoid of peptide, physically and functionally interact. These interactions extend to include classical MHC-I open conformers as ligands, defining new relationships between KIR receptors and MHC-I. The data collectively suggest a broader, previously unrecognized interaction between MHC-I open conformers--including prototypical HLA-F--and KIR receptors, acting in an immunoregulatory capacity centered on the inflammatory response.
Project description:The failure to eliminate self-reactive T cells during negative selection is a prerequisite for autoimmunity. To escape deletion, autoreactive T-cell receptors (TCRs) may form unstable complexes with self-peptide-MHC by adopting suboptimal binding topologies compared with anti-microbial TCRs. Alternatively, escape can occur by weak binding between self-peptides and MHC. We determined the structure of a human autoimmune TCR (MS2-3C8) bound to a self-peptide from myelin basic protein (MBP) and the multiple sclerosis-associated MHC molecule HLA-DR4. MBP is loosely accommodated in the HLA-DR4-binding groove, accounting for its low affinity. Conversely, MS2-3C8 binds MBP-DR4 as tightly as the most avid anti-microbial TCRs. MS2-3C8 engages self-antigen via a docking mode that resembles the optimal topology of anti-foreign TCRs, but is distinct from that of other autoreactive TCRs. Combined with a unique CDR3β conformation, this docking mode compensates for the weak binding of MBP to HLA-DR4 by maximizing interactions between MS2-3C8 and MBP. Thus, the MS2-3C8-MBP-DR4 complex reveals the basis for an alternative strategy whereby autoreactive T cells escape negative selection, yet retain the ability to initiate autoimmunity.
Project description:Peptide selectivity is a feature of inhibitory receptors for MHC class I expressed by natural killer (NK) cells. CD94-NKG2A operates in tandem with the polymorphic killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIR) and Ly49 systems to inhibit NK cells. However, the benefits of having two distinct inhibitory receptor-ligand systems are not clear. We show that noninhibitory peptides presented by HLA-E can augment the inhibition of NKG2A(+) NK cells mediated by MHC class I signal peptides through the engagement of CD94 without a signaling partner. Thus, CD94 is a peptide-selective NK cell receptor, and NK cells can be regulated by nonsignaling interactions. We also show that KIR(+) and NKG2A(+) NK cells respond with differing stoichiometries to MHC class I down-regulation. MHC-I-bound peptide functions as a molecular rheostat controlling NK cell function. Selected peptides which in isolation do not inhibit NK cells can have different effects on KIR and NKG2A receptors. Thus, these two inhibitory systems may complement each other by having distinct responses to bound peptide and surface levels of MHC class I.
Project description:Natural Killer (NK) cell activation requires integration of inhibitory and activating signaling. Inhibitory signals are determined by members of the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) family, which have major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I ligands. Loss of this inhibitory signal leads to NK cell activation. Thus, down-regulation of MHC I during viral infection or cancer induces NK cell activation. However, NK cell activation in the presence of MHC-I has been demonstrated for HLA-C*0102 through changes in its peptide content: "peptide antagonism." Here we identify an antagonist peptide for HLA-C*0304 suggesting that peptide antagonism is a generalizable phenomenon and, using a combination of mathematical modeling, confocal imaging, and immune-assays, we quantitatively determine mechanisms that underlie peptide antagonism in inhibitory KIR2DL2/3 signaling. These data provide a mechanism for NK cell activation based on a reduction of inhibitory signaling in the presence of preserved levels of MHC class I.
Project description:T cell receptor (TCR) recognition of antigenic peptides bound and presented by class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins underlies the cytotoxic immune response to diseased cells. Crystallographic structures of TCR-peptide/MHC complexes have demonstrated how TCRs simultaneously interact with both the peptide and the MHC protein. However, it is increasingly recognized that, beyond serving as a static platform for peptide presentation, the physical properties of class I MHC proteins are tuned by different peptides in ways that are not always structurally visible. These include MHC protein motions, or dynamics, which are believed to influence interactions with a variety of MHC-binding proteins, including not only TCRs, but other activating and inhibitory receptors as well as components of the peptide loading machinery. Here, we investigated the mechanisms by which peptides tune the dynamics of the common class I MHC protein HLA-A2. By examining more than 50 lengthy molecular dynamics simulations of HLA-A2 presenting different peptides, we identified regions susceptible to dynamic tuning, including regions in the peptide binding domain as well as the distal ?3 domain. Further analyses of the simulations illuminated mechanisms by which the influences of different peptides are communicated throughout the protein, and involve regions of the peptide binding groove, the ?2-microglobulin subunit, and the ?3 domain. Overall, our results demonstrate that the class I MHC protein is a highly tunable peptide sensor whose physical properties vary considerably with bound peptide. Our data provides insight into the underlying principles and suggest a role for dynamically driven allostery in the immunological function of MHC proteins.
Project description:In placental mammals, natural killer (NK) cells are a population of lymphocytes that make unique contributions to immune defence and reproduction, functions essential for survival of individuals, populations and species. Modulating these functions are conserved and variable NK-cell receptors that recognize epitopes of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. In humans, for example, recognition of human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-E by the CD94:NKG2A receptor is conserved, whereas recognition of HLA-A, B and C by the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) is diversified. Competing demands of the immune and reproductive systems, and of T-cell and NK-cell immunity-combined with the segregation on different chromosomes of variable NK-cell receptors and their MHC class I ligands-drive an unusually rapid evolution that has resulted in unprecedented levels of species specificity, as first appreciated from comparison of mice and humans. Counterparts to human KIR are present only in simian primates. Observed in these species is the coevolution of KIR and the four MHC class I epitopes to which human KIR recognition is restricted. Unique to hominids is the emergence of the MHC-C locus as a supplier of specialized and superior ligands for KIR. This evolutionary trend is most highly elaborated in the chimpanzee. Unique to the human KIR locus are two groups of KIR haplotypes that are present in all human populations and subject to balancing selection. Group A KIR haplotypes resemble chimpanzee KIR haplotypes and are enriched for genes encoding KIR that bind HLA class I, whereas group B KIR haplotypes are enriched for genes encoding receptors with diminished capacity to bind HLA class I. Correlating with their balance in human populations, B haplotypes favour reproductive success, whereas A haplotypes favour successful immune defence. Evolution of the B KIR haplotypes is thus unique to the human species.
Project description:The alpha/beta T cell receptor (TCR) HA1.7 specific for the hemagglutinin (HA) antigen peptide from influenza A virus is HLA-DR1 restricted but cross-reactive for the HA peptide presented by the allo-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecule HLA-DR4. We report here the structure of the HA1.7/DR4/HA complex, determined by X-ray crystallography at a resolution of 2.4 A. The overall structure of this complex is very similar to the previously reported structure of the HA1.7/DR1/HA complex. Amino acid sequence differences between DR1 and DR4, which are located deep in the peptide binding groove and out of reach for direct contact by the TCR, are able to indirectly influence the antigenicity of the pMHC surface by changing the conformation of HA peptide residues at position P5 and P6. Although TCR HA1.7 is cross-reactive for HA presented by DR1 and DR4 and tolerates these conformational differences, other HA-specific TCRs are sensitive to these changes. We also find a dependence of the width of the MHC class II peptide-binding groove on the sequence of the bound peptide by comparing the HA1.7/DR4/HA complex with the structure of DR4 presenting a collagen peptide. This structural study of TCR cross-reactivity emphasizes how MHC sequence differences can affect TCR binding indirectly by moving peptide atoms.