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The CD8 coreceptor of cytotoxic T lymphocytes binds to a conserved region of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules during recognition of peptide-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigens on the surface of target cells. This event is central to the activation of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) effector functions. The contribution of the MHC complex class I light chain, beta(2)-microglobulin, to CD8alphaalpha binding is relatively small and is mediated mainly through the lysine residue at position 58. Despite this, using molecular modeling, we predict that its mutation should have a dramatic effect on CD8alphaalpha binding. The predictions are confirmed using surface plasmon resonance binding studies and human CTL activation assays. Surprisingly, the charge-reversing mutation, Lys(58) --> Glu, enhances beta(2)m-MHC class I heavy chain interactions. This mutation also significantly reduces CD8alphaalpha binding and is a potent antagonist of CTL activation. These results suggest a novel approach to CTL-specific therapeutic immunosuppression.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





20840 - 20846


Amino Acid Sequence, Amino Acid Substitution, CD8 Antigens, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, HLA-A2 Antigen, Humans, Models, Molecular, Surface Plasmon Resonance, beta 2-Microglobulin