Cartilaginous fish are the most primitive extant species with MHC molecules. Using the nurse shark, the current study is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to present a peptide-loaded MHC class I (pMHC-I) structure for this class of animals. The overall structure was found to be similar between cartilaginous fish and bony animals, showing remarkable conservation of interactions between the three pMHC-I components H chain, β2-microglobulin (β2-m), and peptide ligand. In most previous studies, relatively little attention was given to the details of binding between the H chain and β2-m, and our study provides important new insights. A pronounced conserved feature involves the insertion of a large β2-m F56+W60 hydrophobic knob into a pleat of the β-sheet floor of the H chain α1α2 domain, with the knob being surrounded by conserved residues. Another conserved feature is a hydrogen bond between β2-m Y10 and a proline in the α3 domain of the H chain. By alanine substitution analysis, we found that the conserved β2-m residues Y10, D53, F56, and W60 - each binding the H chain - are required for stable pMHC-I complex formation. For the β2-m residues Y10 and F56, such observations have not been reported before. The combined data indicate that for stable pMHC-I complex formation β2-m should not only bind the α1α2 domain but also the α3 domain. Knowing the conserved structural features of pMHC-I should be helpful for future elucidations of the mechanisms of pMHC-I complex formation and peptide editing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy