Amino acid substitutions in the putative MHC class II "dimer of dimers" interface inhibit CD4+ T cell activation

R Lindstedt, N Monk, G Lombardi, R Lechler

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    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Activation of T lymphocytes is dependent on multiple ligand-receptor interactions. The possibility that TCR dimerization contributes to T cell triggering was raised by the crystallographic analysis of MHC class II molecules. The MHC class II molecules associated as double dimers, and in such a way that two TCR (and two CD4 molecules) could bind simultaneously. Several subsequent studies have lent support to this concept, although the role of TCR cross-linking in T cell activation remains unclear. Using DRA cDNAs modified to encode two different C-terminal tags, no evidence of constitutive double dimer formation was obtained following immunoprecipitation and Western blotting from cells transiently transfected with wild-type DRB and tagged DRA constructs, together with invariant chain and HLA-DM. To determine whether MHC class II molecules contribute actively to TCR-dependent dimerization and consequent T cell activation, panels of HLA-DR1beta and H2-E(k) cDNAs were generated with mutations in the sequences encoding the interface regions of the MHC class II double dimer. Stable DAP.3 transfectants expressing these cDNAs were generated and characterized biochemically and functionally. Substitutions in either interface region I or III did not affect T cell activation, whereas combinations of amino acid substitutions in both regions led to substantial inhibition of proliferation or IL-2 secretion by human and murine T cells. Because the amino acid-substituted molecules were serologically indistinguishable from wild type, bound antigenic peptide with equal efficiency, and induced Ag-dependent CD25 expression indicating TCR recognition, the reduced ability of the mutants to induce full T cell activation is most likely the result of impaired double dimer formation. These data suggest that MHC class II molecules, due to their structural properties, actively contribute to TCR cross-linking.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)800 - 808
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Immunology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2001


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