A molecular basis of human T cell receptor autoreactivity toward self-phospholipids

Adam Shahine, Ildiko Van Rhijn, Tan-Yun Cheng, Sarah Iwany, Stephanie Gras, D Branch Moody, Jamie Rossjohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Human T cell autoreactivity toward lipid antigens presented by CD1 proteins can manifest in numerous diseases, in- cluding psoriasis, contact hypersensitivities, and allergies. However, the molecular mechanisms for regulating T cell autoreactivity toward lipid antigens remain unclear. We determined the basis for T cell receptor (TCR) autoreactivity toward CD1b bound to self-phospholipids. The spectrum of self-antigens captured by CD1b skews toward abundant membrane phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine. However, TCRs can specifically recognize rare phospholipids including phosphatidylglycerol (PG). The structure of an autoreactive TCR bound to CD1b-PG shows that discrimination occurs through a marked induced fit movement of PG so that its polar head group fits snugly into the cationic cup of the TCR. Conversely, TCR binding toward ubiquitous self-phospholipids was sterically or electrostatically repelled. Accordingly, we describe a mechanism of TCR autoreactivity toward rare phospholipids and avoidance of autoreactivity to the most abundant self-phospholipids.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalScience Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2017


  • Autoimmunity
  • X-ray crystallography
  • CD1-MR1 2017

    Adam Shahine (Speaker)

    4 Nov 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

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