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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Crystal structure of the human natural killer cell activating receptor KIR2DS2 (CD158j).

Killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs) regulate the function of human natural killer and T cell subsets. A feature of the KIR locus is the clustering of homologous genes encoding for inhibitory and activating KIR. Inhibitory and activating KIR differ for ligand specificities and/or affinities. In particular, we show here with KIR tetramers that activating KIR2DS2 does not bind HLA-Cw3 molecules recognized by inhibitory KIR2DL2, despite 99% extracellular amino acid identity. We also report the 2.3-A structure of KIR2DS2, which reveals subtle displacements of two residues (Tyr45 and Gln71) involved in the interaction of KIR2DL2 with HLA-Cw3. These results show that KIR molecules cannot tolerate any variability in their three-dimensional structure without altering their MHC class I recognition capacities. Therefore, the mode of recognition used by KIR largely differs from the conformational changes that characterize T cell receptor or NKG2D interaction with their respective ligands.[1]


  1. Crystal structure of the human natural killer cell activating receptor KIR2DS2 (CD158j). Saulquin, X., Gastinel, L.N., Vivier, E. J. Exp. Med. (2003) [Pubmed]
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