Journal of virology 2017 06 2691(14) pii 10.1128/JVI.02511-16
A single dominantly expressed allele of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) may be responsible for the duck’s high tolerance to highly pathogenic influenza A virus (HP-IAV) compared to the chicken’s lower tolerance. In this study, the crystal structures of duck MHC I (Anpl-UAA*01) and duck β2-microglobulin (β2m) with two peptides from the H5N1 strains were determined. Two remarkable features were found to distinguish the Anpl-UAA*01 complex from other known MHC I structures. A disulfide bond formed by Cys(95) and Cys(112) and connecting the β5 and β6 sheets at the bottom of peptide binding groove (PBG) in Anpl-UAA*01 complex, which can enhance IAV peptide binding, was identified. Moreover, the interface area between duck MHC I and β2m was found to be larger than in other species. In addition, the two IAV peptides that display distinctive conformations in the PBG, B, and F pockets act as the primary anchor sites. Thirty-one IAV peptides were used to verify the peptide binding motif of Anpl-UAA*01, and the results confirmed that the peptide binding motif is similar to that of HLA-A*0201. Based on this motif, approximately 600 peptides from the IAV strains were partially verified as the candidate epitope peptides for Anpl-UAA*01, which is a far greater number than those for chicken BF2*2101 and BF2*0401 molecules. Extensive IAV peptide binding should allow for ducks with this Anpl-UAA*01 haplotype to resist IAV infection.IMPORTANCE Ducks are natural reservoirs of influenza A virus (IAV) and are more resistant to the IAV than chickens. Both ducks and chickens express only one dominant MHC I locus providing resistance to the virus. To investigate how MHC I provides IAV resistance, crystal structures of the dominantly expressed duck MHC class I (pAnpl-UAA*01) with two IAV peptides were determined. A disulfide bond was identified in the peptide binding groove that can facilitate Anpl-UAA*01 binding to IAV peptides. Anpl-UAA*01 has a much wider recognition spectrum of IAV epitope peptides than do chickens. The IAV peptides bound by Anpl-UAA*01 display distinctive conformations that can help induce an extensive cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response. In addition, the interface area between the duck MHC I and β2m is larger than in other species. These results indicate that HP-IAV resistance in ducks is due to extensive CTL responses induced by MHC I.