Three-dimensional structure of H-2D(d) complexed with an immunodominant peptide from human immunodeficiency virus envelope glycoprotein 120

Hongmin Li, Kannan Natarajan, Emilio L. Malchiodi, David H. Margulies, Roy A. Mariuzza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The crystal structure of the mouse major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecule H-2D(d) with an immunodominant peptide, designated P18-I10 (RGPGRAFVTI), from human immunodeficiency virus envelope glycoprotein 120 was determined at 3.2 Å resolution. A novel orientation of the α3 domain of D(d) relative to the α1/α2 domains results in significantly fewer contacts between α3 and β2-microglobulin compared with other MHC class I proteins. Four out of ten peptide residues (P2 Gly, P3 Pro, P5 Arg and P10 Ile) are nearly completely buried in the D(d) binding groove. This is consistent with previous findings that D(d) exploits a four-residue binding motif comprising a glycine at P2, a proline at P3, a positively charged residue at P5, and a C-terminal hydrophobic residue at P9 or P10. The side-chain of P5 Arg is directed toward the floor of the predominantly hydrophobic binding groove where it forms two salt bridges and one hydrogen bond with D(d) residue Asp77. The selection of glycine at P2 appears to be due to a narrowing of the B pocket, relative to that of other class I molecules, caused by Arg66 whose side-chain folds down into the binding cleft. Residue P3 Pro of P18-I10 occupies part of pocket D, which in D(d) is partially split by a prominent hydrophobic ridge in the floor of the binding groove formed by Trp97 and Trp114. Residues P6 through P9 form a solvent-exposed bulge, with P7 Phe protruding the most from the binding groove and thereby probably constituting a major site of interaction with T cell receptors. A comparison of H-2D(d)/P18-I10 with other MHC class I/peptide complexes of known structure provides insights into the possible basis for the specificity of the natural killer cell receptor Ly-49A for several related class I molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 16 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Crystal structure
  • HIV glycoprotein 120
  • MHC class I
  • Natural killer receptor
  • Peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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