PMID: 24829406
Sun M, Liu J, Qi J, Tefsen B, Shi Y, Yan J, Gao GF
Nalpha-terminal acetylation for T cell recognition: molecular basis of MHC class I-restricted nalpha-acetylpeptide presentation.
J Immunol. 2014 Jun 15;192(12):5509-19. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1400199. Epub 2014 , May 14.
As one of the most common posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of eukaryotic proteins, N(alpha)-terminal acetylation (Nt-acetylation) generates a class of N(alpha)-acetylpeptides that are known to be presented by MHC class I at the cell surface. Although such PTM plays a pivotal role in adjusting proteolysis, the molecular basis for the presentation and T cell recognition of N(alpha)-acetylpeptides remains largely unknown. In this study, we determined a high-resolution crystallographic structure of HLA (HLA)-B*3901 complexed with an N(alpha)-acetylpeptide derived from natural cellular processing, also in comparison with the unmodified-peptide complex. Unlike the alpha-amino-free P1 residues of unmodified peptide, of which the alpha-amino group inserts into pocket A of the Ag-binding groove, the N(alpha)-linked acetyl of the acetylated P1-Ser protrudes out of the groove for T cell recognition. Moreover, the Nt-acetylation not only alters the conformation of the peptide but also switches the residues in the alpha1-helix of HLA-B*3901, which may impact the T cell engagement. The thermostability measurements of complexes between N(alpha)-acetylpeptides and a series of MHC class I molecules derived from different species reveal reduced stability. Our findings provide the insight into the mode of N(alpha)-acetylpeptide-specific presentation by classical MHC class I molecules and shed light on the potential of acetylepitope-based immune intervene and vaccine development.