Predicting interactions between T cell receptors and MHC-peptide complexes
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Conserved interactions between T cell receptors (TCRs) and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins with bound peptide antigens are not well understood. In order to gain a better understanding of the interaction modes of human TCR variable (V) regions, we have performed a structural analysis of the TCRs bound to their MHC-peptide ligands in human, using the available structural models determined by X-ray crystallography. We identified important differences to previous studies in which such interactions were evaluated. Based on the interactions found in the actual experimental structures we developed the first rule-based approach for predicting the ability of TCR residues in the complementarity-determining region (CDR) 1, CDR2, and CDR3 loops to interact with the MHC-peptide antigen complex. Two relatively simple algorithms show good performance under cross validation.