TCR interaction

The ability of SAgs to activate such a substantial fraction of the T cell repertoire is mainly due to the interaction of SAgs with the V(3 domain in the TCR.

The contribution of the other five, D|3, J(3, Va, Da and Ja, variable parts of the TCRa(3 complex is relatively limited. A particular SAg activates a distinct pattern of TCR-Vp expressing T cells, allowing each individual SAg to give an almost unique immunological 'V(3 fingerprint' (Table 1).

The TCR binding region in the SE proteins is located in the vicinity of the shallow cavity formed between the two domains (Figure 1). Recent structural studies of SEC2 and SEC3 in complex with a TCRp chain indicate that the key points of interactions, in the V(3 chain, are located in the CDR1, CDR2 and HV4 loops.

The large family of MMTV SAgs, probably containing more than 50 different SAgs, seem to primarily differ in the outermost C-terminal part. This region has been assigned as the TCR binding domain because of a remarkable correlation with homology between different MMTV and the V(B repertoire of activated T cells. MMTV interactions with TCR-V(3 has primarily been mapped to the HV4 loop.

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