FMP Publications

Our publications are recorded in a searchable database since 2010, updates will be added regularly.

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Characterization of structural features controlling the receptiveness of empty class II MHC molecules
Rupp, B., Günther, S., Makhmoor(*), T., Schlundt, A., Dickhaut(*), K., Gupta(*), S., Choudhary(*), I., Wiesmüller(*), K. H., Jung(*), G., Freund, C., Falk(*), K., Rötzschke(*), O.; Kühne, R.
Plos One, 6:e18662

Tags: Computational Chemistry and Protein Design (Kühne), Protein Engineering (Freund)

Abstract: MHC class II molecules (MHC II) play a pivotal role in the cell-surface presentation of antigens for surveillance by T cells. Antigen loading takes place inside the cell in endosomal compartments and loss of the peptide ligand rapidly leads to the formation of a non-receptive state of the MHC molecule. Non-receptiveness hinders the efficient loading of new antigens onto the empty MHC II. However, the mechanisms driving the formation of the peptide inaccessible state are not well understood. Here, a combined approach of experimental site-directed mutagenesis and computational modeling is used to reveal structural features underlying "non-receptiveness." Molecular dynamics simulations of the human MHC II HLA-DR1 suggest a straightening of the alpha-helix of the beta1 domain during the transition from the open to the non-receptive state. The movement is mostly confined to a hinge region conserved in all known MHC molecules. This shift causes a narrowing of the two helices flanking the binding site and results in a closure, which is further stabilized by the formation of a critical hydrogen bond between residues alphaQ9 and betaN82. Mutagenesis experiments confirmed that replacement of either one of the two residues by alanine renders the protein highly susceptible. Notably, loading enhancement was also observed when the mutated MHC II molecules were expressed on the surface of fibroblast cells. Altogether, structural features underlying the non-receptive state of empty HLA-DR1 identified by theoretical means and experiments revealed highly conserved residues critically involved in the receptiveness of MHC II. The atomic details of rearrangements of the peptide-binding groove upon peptide loss provide insight into structure and dynamics of empty MHC II molecules and may foster rational approaches to interfere with non-receptiveness. Manipulation of peptide loading efficiency for improved peptide vaccination strategies could be one of the applications profiting from the structural knowledge provided by this study.

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Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie im Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FMP)
Campus Berlin-Buch
Robert-Roessle-Str. 10
13125 Berlin, Germany
+4930 94793 - 100 
+4930 94793 - 109 (Fax)

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