TAPBPR promotes antigen loading on MHC-I molecules using a peptide trap

Andrew C. McShan, Christine A. Devlin, Giora I. Morozov, Sarah A. Overall, Danai Moschidi, Neha Akella, Erik Procko, Nikolaos G. Sgourakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chaperones Tapasin and TAP-binding protein related (TAPBPR) perform the important functions of stabilizing nascent MHC-I molecules (chaperoning) and selecting high-affinity peptides in the MHC-I groove (editing). While X-ray and cryo-EM snapshots of MHC-I in complex with TAPBPR and Tapasin, respectively, have provided important insights into the peptide-deficient MHC-I groove structure, the molecular mechanism through which these chaperones influence the selection of specific amino acid sequences remains incompletely characterized. Based on structural and functional data, a loop sequence of variable lengths has been proposed to stabilize empty MHC-I molecules through direct interactions with the floor of the groove. Using deep mutagenesis on two complementary expression systems, we find that important residues for the Tapasin/TAPBPR chaperoning activity are located on a large scaffolding surface, excluding the loop. Conversely, loop mutations influence TAPBPR interactions with properly conformed MHC-I molecules, relevant for peptide editing. Detailed biophysical characterization by solution NMR, ITC and FP-based assays shows that the loop hovers above the MHC-I groove to promote the capture of incoming peptides. Our results suggest that the longer loop of TAPBPR lowers the affinity requirements for peptide selection to facilitate peptide loading under conditions and subcellular compartments of reduced ligand concentration, and to prevent disassembly of high-affinity peptide-MHC-I complexes that are transiently interrogated by TAPBPR during editing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3174
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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