Peptide anchor residue glycosylation: effect on class I major histocompatibility complex binding and cytotoxic T lymphocyte recognition.
Haurum JS., Tan L., Arsequell G., Frodsham P., Lellouch AC., Moss PA., Dwek RA., McMichael AJ., Elliott T.
This study extends our previous observation that glycopeptides bind to class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules and elicit carbohydrate-specific CTL responses. The Sendai virus nucleoprotein wild-type (WT) peptide (FAPGNYPAL) binds H-2Db using the P5-Asn as an anchor. The peptide K2 carrying a P5 serine substitution did not bind Db. Surprisingly, glycosylation of the serine (K2-O-GlcNAc) with N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), a novel cytosolic O-linked glycosylation, partially restored peptide binding to Db. We argue that the N-acetyl group of GlcNAc may fulfil the hydrogen bonding requirements of the Db pocket which normally accomodates P5-Asn. Glycosylation of the P5-Asn residue itself abrogated binding similar to K2, probably for steric reasons. The peptide K2-O-GlcNAc readily elicited Db-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), which did not cross-react with K2 or WT. However, all Db-restricted CTL raised against K2-O-GlcNAc cross-reacted strongly with another glycopeptide, K3-O-GlcNAc, where the GlcNAc substitution is on a neighboring P4-Ser. Furthermore, Db-restricted CTL clones raised against K2-O-GlcNAc or K3-O-GlcNAc displayed a striking TCR conservation. Our interpretation is that the carbohydrate of K2-O-GlcNAc not only mediates binding to Db, but also interacts with the TCR in such a way as to mimic K3-O-GlcNAc. This unusual example of molecular mimicry extends the known effects of peptide glycosylation from what we and others have previously reported: glycosylation may create a T cell neo-epitope, or, conversely, abrogate recognition. Alternatively, glycosylation may block peptide binding to MHC class I and finally, as reported here, restore binding, presumably through direct interaction of the carbohydrate with the MHC molecule.