Peptide binding to major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs) is a central component of the immune system, and understanding the mechanism behind stable peptide–MHC binding will aid the development of immunotherapies. While MHC binding is mostly influenced by the identity of the so-called anchor positions of the peptide, secondary interactions from nonanchor positions are known to play a role in complex stability. However, current MHC-binding prediction methods lack an analysis of the major conformational states and might underestimate the impact of secondary interactions. In this work, we present an atomically detailed analysis of peptide–MHC binding that can reveal the contributions of any interaction toward stability. We propose a simulation framework that uses both umbrella sampling and adaptive sampling to generate a Markov state model (MSM) for a coronavirus-derived peptide (QFKDNVILL), bound to one of the most prevalent MHC receptors in humans (HLA-A24:02). While our model reaffirms the importance of the anchor positions of the peptide in establishing stable interactions, our model also reveals the underestimated importance of position 4 (p4), a nonanchor position. We confirmed our results by simulating the impact of specific peptide mutations and validated these predictions through competitive binding assays. By comparing the MSM of the wild-type system withmore »
Self-discrimination, a critical but ill-defined molecular process programmed during thymocyte development, requires myriad pre–T cell receptors (preTCRs) and αβTCRs. Using x-ray crystallography, we show how a preTCR applies the concave β-sheet surface of its single variable domain (Vβ) to “horizontally” grab the protruding MHC α2-helix. By contrast, αβTCRs purpose all six complementarity-determining region (CDR) loops of their paired VαVβ module to recognize peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex molecules (pMHCs) in “vertical” head-to-head binding. The preTCR topological fit ensures that CDR3β reaches the peptide’s featured C-terminal segment for pMHC sampling, establishing the subsequent αβTCR canonical docking mode. “Horizontal” docking precludes germline CDR1β- and CDR2β-MHC binding to broaden β-chain repertoire diversification before αβTCR-mediated selection refinement. Thus, one subunit successively attunes the recognition logic of related multicomponent receptors.
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- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- p. 181-185
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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