Research Article

The Crystal Structure of a T Cell Receptor in Complex with Peptide and MHC Class II

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Science  03 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5446, pp. 1913-1921
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5446.1913

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The crystal structure of a complex involving the D10 T cell receptor (TCR), 16-residue foreign peptide antigen, and the I-Ak self major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecule is reported at 3.2 angstrom resolution. The D10 TCR is oriented in an orthogonal mode relative to its peptide-MHC (pMHC) ligand, necessitated by the amino-terminal extension of peptide residues projecting from the MHC class II antigen–binding groove as part of a mini β sheet. Consequently, the disposition of D10 complementarity-determining region loops is altered relative to that of most pMHCI-specific TCRs; the latter TCRs assume a diagonal orientation, although with substantial variability. Peptide recognition, which involves P–1 to P8 residues, is dominated by the Vα domain, which also binds to the class II MHC β1 helix. That docking is limited to one segment of MHC-bound peptide offers an explanation for epitope recognition and altered peptide ligand effects, suggests a structural basis for alloreactivity, and illustrates how bacterial superantigens can span the TCR-pMHCII surface.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ellis_reinherz{at}; jwang{at}

  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: N.V. Procter Gamble Eurocor, Temselaan 100, A128, B-1853 Strombeek-Bever, Belgium.

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