A single amino acid change makes the peptide specificity of B*3910 unrelated to B*3901 and closer to a group of HLA-B proteins including the malaria-protecting allotype HLA-B53

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HLA-B*3910, which has only been found in African and African American individuals, differs from B*3901 by the single amino acid change of Cys67 to Tyr67. Sequence analysis of the B*3910-bound peptide pool and of several individual ligands revealed that this subtype has strong preference for peptides with Pro2. This is in contrast with the preference of B*3901 for peptides with basic residues (Arg and His) at this position, and indicates that the single amino acid substitution between B*3910 and B*3901 totally changes the repertoire of bound peptides. This is presumably due to the significant decrease in the size of the B pocket, and to its increased hydrophobicity, since Tyr67 takes part in this pocket. B*3910 is similar to various other class I proteins in its preference for peptides with Pro2 and nonpolar C-terminal residues, including HLA-B53, an antigen associated with protection against severe malaria. The role of these two motifs as major peptidic anchors suggests that B*3910 and HLA-B53 may bind common peptides.

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