CD8(+) T cells respond to signals mediated through a specific interaction between the T-cell receptor (TCR) and a composite antigen in the form of an epitopic peptide bound between the polymorphic α1 and α2 helices of an MHC class I (MHCI) molecule. The CD8 glycoprotein 'co-receives' antigen by binding to an invariant region of the MHCI molecule and can enhance ligand recognition by up to 1 million-fold. In recent years, a number of structural and biophysical investigations have shed light on the role of the CD8 co-receptor during T-cell antigen recognition. Here, we provide a collated resource for these data, and discuss how the structural and biophysical parameters governing CD8 co-receptor function further our understanding of T-cell cross-reactivity and the productive engagement of low-affinity antigenic ligands.
© 2012 The Authors. Immunology © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.