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For many but not for all: how the conformational flexibility of the peptide/MHCII complex shapes epitope selection

TitleFor many but not for all: how the conformational flexibility of the peptide/MHCII complex shapes epitope selection
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFerrante, A
JournalImmunological Research
Volumeonline first
Abstract

The adaptive immune response starts when CD4? T cells recognize peptide antigens presented by class II molecules of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHCII). Two outstanding features of MHCII molecules are their polymorphism and the ability of each allele to bind a large panoply of peptides. The ability of each MHCII molecule to interact with a limited, though broad, range of amino acid sequences, or ‘‘permissive specificity’’ of binding, is the result of structural flexibility. This flexibility has been identified through biochemical and biophysical studies, and molecular dynamic simulations have modeled the conformational rearrangements that the peptide and the MHCII undergo during interaction. Moreover, there is evidence that the structural flexibility of the peptide/MHCII complex correlates with the activity of the ‘‘peptide-editing’’ molecule DM. In light of the impact that these recent findings have on our ability to predict MHCII epitopes, a review of the structural and thermodynamic determinants of peptide binding to MHCII is proposed.

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