We present evidence that a single T cell clone can recognize at least five different overlapping peptides, each with its distinct core structure, in the context of the same major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule. Distinct core residues are crucial for triggering the T cell receptor (TCR) in each case. These results suggest that the TCR (a) has multiple sets of contact residues for alternative peptide-MHC ligands, the binding to any one of which can trigger the cell; and/or (b) is able to attach to the peptide-MHC complex in more than one orientation. In this sense, the TCR is a multisubsite structure capable of being stimulated by a variety of peptide ligands associated with the same MHC molecules.

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