Structure of the TAPBPR–MHC I complex defines the mechanism of peptide loading and editing

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Adaptive immunity is shaped by a selection of peptides presented on major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) molecules. The chaperones Tapasin (Tsn) and TAP-binding protein–related (TAPBPR) facilitate MHC I peptide loading and high-affinity epitope selection. Despite the pivotal role of Tsn and TAPBPR in controlling the hierarchical immune response, their catalytic mechanism remains unknown. Here, we present the x-ray structure of the TAPBPR–MHC I complex, which delineates the central step of catalysis. TAPBPR functions as peptide selector by remodeling the MHC I α2-1-helix region, stabilizing the empty binding groove, and inserting a loop into the groove that interferes with peptide binding. The complex explains how mutations in MHC I–specific chaperones cause defects in antigen processing and suggests a unifying mechanism of peptide proofreading.

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