Title

Molecular Requirements for MHC Class II {alpha}-Chain Engagement and Allelic Discrimination by the Bacterial Superantigen Streptococcal Pyrogenic Exotoxin C

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2008

Journal

The Journal of Immunology

Volume

181

Issue

5

First Page

3384

Last Page

3392

Abstract

Superantigens (SAgs) are microbial toxins that bind to both TCR beta-chain variable domains (Vbetas) and MHC class II molecules, resulting in the activation of T cells in a Vbeta-specific manner. It is now well established that different isoforms of MHC II molecules can play a significant role in the immune response to bacterial SAgs. In this work, using directed mutational studies in conjunction with functional analyses, we provide a complete functional map of the low-affinity MHC II alpha-chain binding interface of the SAg streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin C (SpeC) and identify a functional epitope in the beta-barrel domain that is required for the activation of T cells. Using cell lines that exclusively express individual MHC II isoforms, our studies provide a molecular basis for the selectivity of SpeC-MHC II recognition, and provide one mechanism by how SAgs are capable of distinguishing between different MHC II alleles.