The adhesion interaction between the immunoglobulin superfamily molecules CD2 and CD58 (lymphocyte function-associated antigen 3) plays an important role in T cell and natural killer cell interaction with various antigen-presenting and target cells. Determination of the solution structure of rat CD2 domain 1 has allowed a model of human CD2 domain 1 to be generated, and a series of mutants based on this model have been made. Residues of domain 1 of human CD2 predicted to be solvent exposed were substituted with the equivalent residues present in the rat CD2 molecule. The ability of these mutants to mediate rosetting with human and sheep erythrocytes was studied. Results show that the binding site of CD2 for both human and sheep CD58 maps to the beta sheet containing beta strands CC'C"F and G. Residues K34 and E36 in beta strand C, R48 and K49 in beta strand C', and K91 and N92 in the loop connecting beta strands F and G are shown to be critical in the interaction. The data support the proposition that the interaction between CD2 and CD58 involves the major beta sheet face of CD2.

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