Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules present small peptide antigens to T cells, thereby allowing them to recognize pathogen-infected and cancer cells. A central dogma over the last 50+ y is that peptide binding to HLA molecules is mediated by the docking of side chains of particular amino acids in the peptide into pockets in the HLA molecules in a conserved N- to C-terminal orientation. Whether peptides can be presented in a reversed C- to N-terminal orientation remains unclear. Here, we performed large-scale identification of peptides bound to HLA-DP molecules and observed that in addition to peptide binding in an N- to C-terminal orientation, in 9 out of 14 HLA-DP allotypes, reverse motifs are found, compatible with C- to N-terminal peptide binding. Moreover, we isolated high-avidity human cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific HLA-DP-restricted CD4+ T cells from the memory repertoire of healthy donors and demonstrate that such T cells recognized CMV-derived peptides bound to HLA-DPB1*01:01 or *05:01 in a reverse C- to N-terminal manner. Finally, we obtained a high-resolution HLA-DPB1*01:01-CMVpp65(142-158) peptide crystal structure, which is the molecular basis for C- to N-terminal peptide binding to HLA-DP. Our results point to unique features of HLA-DP molecules that substantially broaden the HLA class II bound peptide repertoire to combat pathogens and eliminate cancer cells.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 6 Dec 2022|
- reverse peptides
- T cell