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Title: Identification of critical residues of staphylococcal enterotoxin B for lymphomonocyte proliferation and cytokine production
Authors: Di Stefano, A
Ricci, L
Niccolai, Neri 
Scarselli, M
Soldani, P
Neri, P
Issue Date: 1998
Project: None 
Superantigens bind to major histocompatibility complex class II molecules and stimulate large numbers of T cells expressing particular Vbeta elements of the T-cell receptor. Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is a bacterial superantigen that causes food poisoning and toxic-shock syndrome. The toxicity of SEB is thought to be mediated by T-cell stimulation and cytokine production. Different regions of the SEB molecule are important for mitogenic activity. To identify critical residues of SEB in the region 124-1 54, which competitively inhibits the mitogenic activity of the toxin, we used the synthetic peptide approach and alanine scanning mutagenesis as a probe. We synthesized eight peptides with alanine replacement of all residues in the SEB sequence 131-138 and tested them for the capacity to inhibit both SEB-induced proliferation of human lymphomonocytes and the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha and interferon gamma. Mutation to alanine of the residue Thr 133 improved the inhibition of SEB-induced proliferation and cytokine production, whereas the substitution of Ser 131 also increased the inhibition, albeit to a lesser degree. The peptide obtained by substitution of Val 136 with alanine was unable to inhibit SEB-induced proliferation and cytokine production, suggesting that Val 136 is essential for mitogenic activity. Thus hydrophobic interactions apparently are very important for mitogenic activity. The identification of critical residues in this active site in the SEB and the computer modeling based on crystal X-ray data contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanism of the superantigen and may be useful for therapeutical applications.
ISSN: 1397-002X
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