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

A single amino acid in the p58 killer cell inhibitory receptor controls the ability of natural killer cells to discriminate between the two groups of HLA-C allotypes.

To examine the structural basis for the specific recognition of the MHC class I allotypes HLA-Cw*0401 and HLA-Cw*0304 by the killer cell inhibitory receptors (KIR) cl42 and cl43, respectively, mutant KIR-Ig fusion proteins were tested by direct binding to cells transfected with single HLA-C alleles. The putative loop region at position 44-46 of KIR contained amino acids that were necessary for the discrimination between HLA-Cw*0401 and HLA-Cw*0304. Surprisingly, exchanging the methionine at position 44 in cl42 with the lysine at position 44 in cl43 was sufficient to switch the specificity of cl42 from HLA-Cw*0401 to HLA-Cw*0304, and vice versa. Thus, a single amino acid in the first Ig domain of these KIR determines their ability to discriminate between the two groups of HLA-C allotypes.[1]


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