We examined the effect of mutations in the V beta portion of a pigeon cytochrome c (cyto c)-specific V beta 3+/V alpha 11+ T cell receptor on its ability to recognize cyto c/IEk and various superantigens. The results were consistent with an immunoglobulin-like structure for the receptor V beta domain and with separate interaction sites on V beta for conventional antigen and superantigens. An amino acid predicted to lie in CDR1 was critical for cyto c/IEk but not superantigen recognition, while several amino acids predicted to lie in the hypervariable region 4 loop were critical for superantigen but not cyto c/IEk recognition.

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