The gamma delta T cell clone LBK5 recognizes the MHC molecule IEk. Here, we demonstrate that the affinity of this interaction is weaker than those typically reported for alpha beta TCRs that recognize peptide/MHC complexes. Consistent with our previous finding that peptide bound to the IE molecule does not confer specificity, we show that the entire epitope for LBK5 is contained within the polypeptide chains of the molecule, centered around the polymorphic residues 67 and 70 of the IE beta-chain. However, LBK5 recognition is profoundly influenced by the N-linked glycosylation at residue 82 of the IE alpha-chain. Since infected, stressed, or transformed cells often change the posttranslational modifications of their surface glycoproteins, this finding suggests a new way in which gamma delta T cell Ag recognition can be regulated.
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