The critical amino acids of a nephritogenic epitope on human Goodpasture autoantigen for binding to HLA-DRB1*1501

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Anti-GBM disease is caused by autoimmunity to Goodpasture antigen on α3(IV)NC1 and had strong associations with HLA-DRB1*1501. Previous studies identified α3127–148 (P14: TDIPPCPHGWISLWKGFSFIMF) as a T cell epitope. The present study was aimed to investigate the binding capacity of P14 to HLA-DRB1*1501 and the critical amino acids for this binding.


A line of EBV-transformed human B cells homozygous for HLA-DRB1*1501 was used to detect the binding capacity of peptides to HLA-DRB1*1501 using flow cytometry analysis. P14 was sequentially truncated into 8 peptides with 15 amino acids to identify the core binding motif. A set of alanine substituted peptides of P14–2 was then synthesized to identify its critical residues for binding to HLA-DRB1*1501. The structure of HLA-DR2b-Peptide-TCR complex was constructed by modeling to analyze the interaction of each amino acids of P14–2 with the HLA-DR2b molecule.


P14 could bind to HLA-DRB1*1501 expressed on B cell surface. The N-terminus of P14 was the core binding motif and the truncated peptide P14–2 (DIPPCPHGWISLWKG) 128–142 had the strongest binding capacity. After sequential amino acid substitution, we found the binding capacity of P14–2 was completely lost by the substitution of cysteine (C) 132 and significantly decreased by the substitution of tryptophan (W) 136, lysine (K) 141, or glycine (G) 142, but still at a high level. The modeling showed that (C) 132 had a strong interaction with pocket 4 on the β chain of DR2b. Thus, C132, W 136, K141, and G142 were defined as the critical amino acid residues for the binding capacity of P14 to HLA-DRB1*1501.


We identified α3128–142 (DIPPCPHGWISLWKG) as the core binding motif of P14 to HLA-DRB1*1501 molecule. And the critical amino acid residues for this binding were further defined as C132, W 136, K 141, and G 142.

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