The CD8 Ag is a cell surface heterodimer which demarcates predominantly cytotoxic T cells which are restricted by class I MHC Ag. The disulfide bonds within the murine structure were assigned in this study and the alpha-beta-interchain bond involves one or more cysteine residues located in each chain proximal to the plasma membrane or included within it. The location of the intrachain disulfide loop within the CD8 beta-chain confirms its proposed structural homology to an IgV domain but no corresponding disulfide loop is present within the alpha-chain. The invariant IgV disulfide loop has been replaced by a unique, short loop involving an unusual cysteine which is conserved in the CD8 alpha-chains of man, mouse, and rat. Despite its lack of precedent in other Ig-related structures, this unusual disulfide loop can be parsimoniously accommodated into a modified domain which has retained the major features of the Ig structural motif.

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