Molecular studies of anti-HLA-A2 using light-chain shuffling: a structural model for HLA antibody binding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • NA Watkins
  • M Kuijpers
  • C Brown
  • B Javid
  • PJ Lehner
  • C Navarrete
  • WH Ouwehand

Colleges, School and Institutes


Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) A2 is one of the most immunodominant HLA antigens. Through a process of light-chain variable domain (VL) shuffling, we analyzed the VL domains' role in anti-HLA-A2/A28-binding site diversity. This was achieved by combining a VH3-30-encoded HLA-A2/A28-specific heavy-chain variable domain with 10(4) non-immune VL domains. Twelve HLA-A2/A28-specific antibodies were subsequently identified. VL gene analysis demonstrated an absence of Vlambda domains and that all have VkappaI-encoded light chains. The affinities correlated with the VkappaI gene present, with the seven highest affinity antibodies using Vkappa domains encoded by the O18 gene segment. A 300-fold difference in affinity was observed between the 12 antibodies, and homology modeling demonstrated a correlation between electrostatic surface potential of the antigen-binding site and affinity for HLA. Overlap between the T-cell receptor-binding site and that of the antibodies was indicated by inhibition of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte killing of peptide-pulsed target cells. A model of antibody binding to HLA-A2 suggested contact with both alpha helices of the HLA molecule, such that the antigen-binding site spans the peptide-binding groove. These data increase the understanding of antibody recognition of HLA and may facilitate the production of clonotypic antibodies with peptide-specific binding.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
JournalTissue Antigens
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004