Three-dimensional structure of the complex between a T cell receptor beta chain and the superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B

Immunity. 1998 Dec;9(6):807-16. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(00)80646-9.


Superantigens (SAGs) are a class of immunostimulatory proteins of bacterial or viral origin that activate T cells by binding to the V beta domain of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR). The three-dimensional structure of the complex between a TCR beta chain (mouse V beta8.2) and the SAG staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) at 2.4 A resolution reveals why SEB recognizes only certain V beta families, as well as why only certain SAGs bind mouse V beta8.2. Models of the TCR-SEB-peptide/MHC class II complex indicate that V alpha interacts with the MHC beta chain in the TCR-SAG-MHC complex. The extent of the interaction is variable and is largely determined by the geometry of V alpha/V beta domain association. This variability can account for the preferential expression of certain V alpha regions among T cells reactive with SEB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Enterotoxins / chemistry*
  • Enterotoxins / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / chemistry
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry*
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / physiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / immunology*
  • Superantigens / chemistry*
  • Superantigens / immunology


  • Enterotoxins
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Superantigens
  • T-cell receptor Vbeta 8.2
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal

Associated data