Short Class I Major Histocompatibility Complex Cytoplasmic Tails Differing in Charge Detect Arbiters of Lateral Diffusion in the Plasma Membrane

G. George Capps, Samuel Pine, Michael A Edidin, Martha C. Zúñiga

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Directed and Brownian movement of class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on cell membranes is implicated in antigen presentation. Previous studies indicated that the class I MHC cytoplasmic tail imposes constraints on the molecule's diffusion. Here we used single particle tracking to study the mobility of the wild-type mouse H-2Ld class I MHC molecule and of seven cytoplasmic tail variants. Six of the variants have cytoplasmic tails of four or seven residues (differing in net charge), and one is tailless, yet all are susceptible to confinement in membrane domains. However, truncation of the cytoplasmic tail to 0-4 residues decreases the proportion of particles exhibiting confined diffusion and increases the proportion exhibiting simple diffusion. Particularly for the truncated mutants (tail length of 0-7 residues), many of the particles have complex trajectories and do not move at a constant speed or in the same mode of diffusion throughout the observation period. Several particles of the tailless H-2Ld mutant display a type of directed diffusion that is rarely observed for other H-2Ld mutants. Taken together, these data show that even short cytoplasmic tails can influence markedly class I MHC mobility and that cytoplasmic tail length and sequence affect the molecule's diffusion in the membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2896-2909
Number of pages14
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

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