Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I alleles can be grouped into supertypes according to their shared peptide binding properties. We examined alleles of the HLA-B58 supertype (B58s) in treatment-naïve human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-seropositive Africans (423 Zambians and 202 Rwandans). HLA-B and HLA-C alleles were resolved to four digits by a combination of molecular methods, and their respective associations with outcomes of HIV-1 infection were analyzed by statistical procedures appropriate for continuous or categorical data. The effects of the individual alleles on natural HIV-1 infection were heterogeneous. In HIV-1 subtype C-infected Zambians, the mean viral load (VL) was lower among B*5703 (P = 0.01) or B*5703-Cw*18 (P < 0.001) haplotype carriers and higher among B*5802 (P = 0.02) or B*5802-Cw*0602 (P = 0.03) carriers. The B*5801-Cw*03 haplotype showed an association with low VL (P = 0.05), whereas B*5801 as a whole did not. Rwandans with HIV-1 subtype A infection showed associations of B*5703 and B*5802 with slow (P = 0.06) and rapid (P = 0.003) disease progression, respectively. In neither population were B*1516-B*1517 alleles associated with more favorable responses. Overall, B58s alleles, individually or as part of an HLA-B-HLA-C haplotype, appeared to have a distinctive impact on HIV-1 infection among native Africans. As presently defined, B58s alleles cannot be considered uniformly protective against HIV/AIDS in every population.
Genetic polymorphisms in class I human leukocyte antigen molecules (HLA) have been shown to determine susceptibility to HIV infection as well as the rate of progression to AIDS. In particular, the HLA-B7 supertype has been shown to be associated with high viral loads and rapid progression to disease. Using a multiplatform in silico/in vitro approach, we have prospectively identified 45 highly conserved, putative HLA-B7 restricted HIV CTL epitopes and evaluated them in HLA binding and ELISpot assays. All 45 epitopes (100%) bound to HLA-B7 in cell-based HLA binding assays: 28 (62%) bound with high affinity, 6 (13%) peptides bound with medium affinity and 11 (24%) bound with low affinity. Forty of the 45 peptides (88%) stimulated a IFN-γ response in PBMC from at least one subject. Eighteen of these 40 epitopes have not been previously described; an additional eight epitopes have not been previously described as restricted by B7. The HLA-B7 restricted epitopes discovered using this in silico screening approach are highly conserved across strains and clades of HIV as well as conserved in the HIV genome over the 20 years since HIV-1 isolates were first sequenced. This study demonstrates that it is possible to select a broad range of HLA-B7 restricted epitopes that comprise stable elements in the rapidly mutating HIV genome. The most immunogenic of these epitopes will be included in the GAIA multi-epitope vaccine.
T cell epitope; HIV; HLA-B7; Vaccine
MULTIPRED2 is a computational system for facile prediction of peptide binding to multiple alleles belonging to human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and class II DR molecules. It enables prediction of peptide binding to products of individual HLA alleles, combination of alleles, or HLA supertypes. NetMHCpan and NetMHCIIpan are used as prediction engines. The 13 HLA Class I supertypes are A1, A2, A3, A24, B7, B8, B27, B44, B58, B62, C1, and C4. The 13 HLA Class II DR supertypes are DR1, DR3, DR4, DR6, DR7, DR8, DR9, DR11, DR12, DR13, DR14, DR15, and DR16. In total, MULTIPRED2 enables prediction of peptide binding to 1077 variants representing 26 HLA supertypes. MULTIPRED2 has visualization modules for mapping promiscuous T-cell epitopes as well as those regions of high target concentration – referred to as T-cell epitope hotspots. Novel graphic representations are employed to display the predicted binding peptides and immunological hotspots in an intuitive manner and also to provide a global view of results as heat maps. Another function of MULTIPRED2, which has direct relevance to vaccine design, is the calculation of population coverage. Currently it calculates population coverage in five major groups in North America. MULTIPRED2 is an important tool to complement wet-lab experimental methods for identification of T-cell epitopes. It is available at http://cvc.dfci.harvard.edu/multipred2/.
T-cell epitope hotspots; HLA; HLA supertype; Human Leukocyte Antigen; promiscuous binding peptide; vaccine design
Class II human leukocyte antigens (HLA II) are proteins involved in the human immunological adaptive response by binding and exposing some pre-processed, non-self peptides in the extracellular domain in order to make them recognizable by the CD4+ T lymphocytes. However, the understanding of HLA–peptide binding interaction is a crucial step for designing a peptide-based vaccine because the high rate of polymorphisms in HLA class II molecules creates a big challenge, even though the HLA II proteins can be grouped into supertypes, where members of different class bind a similar pool of peptides. Hence, first we performed the supertype classification of 27 HLA II proteins using their binding affinities and structural-based linear motifs to create a stable group of supertypes. For this purpose, a well-known clustering method was used, and then, a consensus was built to find the stable groups and to show the functional and structural correlation of HLA II proteins. Thus, the overlap of the binding events was measured, confirming a large promiscuity within the HLA II–peptide interactions. Moreover, a very low rate of locus-specific binding events was observed for the HLA-DP genetic locus, suggesting a different binding selectivity of these proteins with respect to HLA-DR and HLA-DQ proteins. Secondly, a predictor based on a support vector machine (SVM) classifier was designed to recognize HLA II-binding peptides. The efficiency of prediction was estimated using precision, recall (sensitivity), specificity, accuracy, F-measure, and area under the ROC curve values of random subsampled dataset in comparison with other supervised classifiers. Also the leave-one-out cross-validation was performed to establish the efficiency of the predictor. The availability of HLA II–peptide interaction dataset, HLA II-binding motifs, high-quality amino acid indices, peptide dataset for SVM training, and MATLAB code of the predictor is available at http://sysbio.icm.edu.pl/HLA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00251-012-0665-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
MHC; HLA class II; Peptide binding; T cell epitopes; Clustering; Machine learning
The Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected Indian rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is the most established model of HIV infection and AIDS-related research, despite the potential that macaques of Chinese origin is a more relevant model. Ongoing efforts to further characterize the Chinese rhesus macaques’ major histocompatibility complex (MHC) for composition and function should facilitate greater utilization of the species. Previous studies have demonstrated that Chinese-origin M. mulatta (Mamu) class I alleles are more polymorphic than their Indian counterparts, perhaps inferring a model more representative of human MHC, human leukocyte antigen (HLA). Furthermore, the Chinese rhesus macaque class I allele Mamu-A1*02201, the most frequent allele thus far identified, has recently been characterized and shown to be an HLA-B7 supertype analog, the most frequent supertype in human populations. In this study, we have characterized two additional alleles expressed with high frequency in Chinese rhesus macaques, Mamu-A1*02601 and Mamu-B*08301. Upon the development of MHC–peptide-binding assays and definition of their associated motifs, we reveal that these Mamu alleles share peptide-binding characteristics with the HLA-A2 and HLA-A3 supertypes, respectively, the next most frequent human supertypes after HLA-B7. These data suggest that Chinese rhesus macaques may indeed be a more representative model of HLA gene diversity and function as compared to the species of Indian origin and therefore a better model for investigating human immune responses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00251-010-0502-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
HLA supertype; MHC; Peptide-binding motif; Rhesus macaque
The peptide repertoire presented on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules is largely determined by the structure of the peptide binding groove. It is expected that the molecules having similar grooves (i.e., belonging to the same supertype) might present similar/overlapping peptides. However, the extent of promiscuity among HLA class I ligands remains controversial: while in many studies T cell responses are detected against epitopes presented by alternative molecules across HLA class I supertypes and loci, peptide elution studies report minute overlaps between the peptide repertoires of even related HLA molecules. To get more insight into the promiscuous peptide binding by HLA molecules, we analyzed the HLA peptide binding data from the large epitope repository, Immune Epitope Database (IEDB), and further performed in silico analysis to estimate the promiscuity at the population level. Both analyses suggest that an unexpectedly large fraction of HLA ligands (>50%) bind two or more HLA molecules, often across supertype or even loci. These results suggest that different HLA class I molecules can nevertheless present largely overlapping peptide sets, and that “functional” HLA polymorphism on individual and population level is probably much lower than previously anticipated.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00251-011-0552-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Antigen presentation/processing; Evolution; Bioinformatics; MHC; CD8 T cells
Identification of human leukocyte antigen class I (HLA-I) restricted cytotoxic T cell (CTL) epitopes from influenza virus is of importance for the development of new effective peptide-based vaccines.
In the present work, bioinformatics was used to predict 9mer peptides derived from available influenza A viral proteins with binding affinity for at least one of the 12 HLA-I supertypes. The predicted peptides were then selected in a way that ensured maximal coverage of the available influenza A strains. One hundred and thirty one peptides were synthesized and their binding affinities for the HLA-I supertypes were measured in a biochemical assay. Influenza-specific T cell responses towards the peptides were quantified using IFNγ ELISPOT assays with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from adult healthy HLA-I typed donors as responder cells. Of the 131 peptides, 21 were found to induce T cell responses in 19 donors. In the ELISPOT assay, five peptides induced responses that could be totally blocked by the pan-specific anti-HLA-I antibody W6/32, whereas 15 peptides induced responses that could be completely blocked in the presence of the pan-specific anti-HLA class II (HLA-II) antibody IVA12. Blocking of HLA-II subtype reactivity revealed that 8 and 6 peptide responses were blocked by anti-HLA-DR and -DP antibodies, respectively. Peptide reactivity of PBMC depleted of CD4+ or CD8+ T cells prior to the ELISPOT culture revealed that effectors are either CD4+ (the majority of reactivities) or CD8+ T cells, never a mixture of these subsets. Three of the peptides, recognized by CD4+ T cells showed binding to recombinant DRA1*0101/DRB1*0401 or DRA1*0101/DRB5*0101 molecules in a recently developed biochemical assay.
HLA-I binding 9mer influenza virus-derived peptides induce in many cases CD4+ T cell responses restricted by HLA-II molecules.
Prediction of peptide binding to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules is a basis for anticipating T-cell epitopes, as well as epitope discovery-driven vaccine development. In the human, MHC molecules are known as human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) and are extremely polymorphic. HLA polymorphism is the basis of differential peptide binding, until now limiting the practical use of current epitope-prediction tools for vaccine development. Here, we describe a web server, PEPVAC (Promiscuous EPitope-based VACcine), optimized for the formulation of multi-epitope vaccines with broad population coverage. This optimization is accomplished through the prediction of peptides that bind to several HLA molecules with similar peptide-binding specificity (supertypes). Specifically, we offer the possibility of identifying promiscuous peptide binders to five distinct HLA class I supertypes (A2, A3, B7, A24 and B15). We estimated the phenotypic population frequency of these supertypes to be 95%, regardless of ethnicity. Targeting these supertypes for promiscuous peptide-binding predictions results in a limited number of potential epitopes without compromising the population coverage required for practical vaccine design considerations. PEPVAC can also identify conserved MHC ligands, as well as those with a C-terminus resulting from proteasomal cleavage. The combination of these features with the prediction of promiscuous HLA class I ligands further limits the number of potential epitopes. The PEPVAC server is hosted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the site .
The promiscuous presentation of epitopes by similar HLA class I alleles holds promise for a universal T-cell-based HIV-1 vaccine. However, in some instances, cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) restricted by HLA alleles with similar or identical binding motifs are known to target epitopes at different frequencies, with different functional avidities and with different apparent clinical outcomes. Such differences may be illuminated by the association of similar HLA alleles with distinctive escape pathways. Using a novel computational method featuring phylogenetically corrected odds ratios, we systematically analyzed differential patterns of immune escape across all optimally defined epitopes in Gag, Pol, and Nef in 2,126 HIV-1 clade C-infected adults. Overall, we identified 301 polymorphisms in 90 epitopes associated with HLA alleles belonging to shared supertypes. We detected differential escape in 37 of 38 epitopes restricted by more than one allele, which included 278 instances of differential escape at the polymorphism level. The majority (66 to 97%) of these resulted from the selection of unique HLA-specific polymorphisms rather than differential epitope targeting rates, as confirmed by gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISPOT) data. Discordant associations between HLA alleles and viral load were frequently observed between allele pairs that selected for differential escape. Furthermore, the total number of associated polymorphisms strongly correlated with average viral load. These studies confirm that differential escape is a widespread phenomenon and may be the norm when two alleles present the same epitope. Given the clinical correlates of immune escape, such heterogeneity suggests that certain epitopes will lead to discordant outcomes if applied universally in a vaccine.
MULTIPRED is a web-based computational system for the prediction of peptide binding to multiple molecules (proteins) belonging to human leukocyte antigens (HLA) class I A2, A3 and class II DR supertypes. It uses hidden Markov models and artificial neural network methods as predictive engines. A novel data representation method enables MULTIPRED to predict peptides that promiscuously bind multiple HLA alleles within one HLA supertype. Extensive testing was performed for validation of the prediction models. Testing results show that MULTIPRED is both sensitive and specific and it has good predictive ability (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve AROC > 0.80). MULTIPRED can be used for the mapping of promiscuous T-cell epitopes as well as the regions of high concentration of these targets—termed T-cell epitope hotspots. MULTIPRED is available at .
The ideal vaccine to protect against toxoplasmosis in humans would include antigens that elicit a protective T helper cell type 1 immune response, and generate long-lived IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T cells. Herein, we utilized a predictive algorithm to identify candidate HLA-A02 supertype epitopes from T. gondii proteins. Thirteen peptides elicited production of IFN-γ from PBMC of HLA-A02 supertype persons seropositive for T. gondii infection but not from seronegative controls. These peptides displayed high-affinity binding to HLA-A02 proteins. Immunization of HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice with these pooled peptides, with a universal CD4+ epitope peptide called PADRE, formulated with adjuvant GLA-SE, induced CD8+ T cell IFN-γ production and protected against parasite challenge. Peptides identified in this study provide candidates for inclusion in immunosense epitope-based vaccines.
Toxoplasma gondii; HLA-A2 Epitope; vaccine
Class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules bind, and present to T cells, short peptides derived from intracellular processing of proteins. The peptide repertoire of a specific molecule is to a large extent determined by the molecular structure accommodating so-called main anchor positions of the presented peptide. These receptors are extremely polymorphic, and much of the polymorphism influences the peptide-binding repertoire. However, despite this polymorphism, class I molecules can be clustered into sets of molecules that bind largely overlapping peptide repertoires. Almost a decade ago we introduced this concept of clustering human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles and defined nine different groups, denominated as supertypes, on the basis of their main anchor specificity. The utility of this original supertype classification, as well several other subsequent arrangements derived by others, has been demonstrated in a large number of epitope identification studies.
Following our original approach, in the present report we provide an updated classification of HLA-A and -B class I alleles into supertypes. The present analysis incorporates the large amount of class I MHC binding data and sequence information that has become available in the last decade. As a result, over 80% of the 945 different HLA-A and -B alleles examined to date can be assigned to one of the original nine supertypes. A few alleles are expected to be associated with repertoires that overlap multiple supertypes. Interestingly, the current analysis did not identify any additional supertype specificities.
As a result of this updated analysis, HLA supertype associations have been defined for over 750 different HLA-A and -B alleles. This information is expected to facilitate epitope identification and vaccine design studies, as well as investigations into disease association and correlates of immunity. In addition, the approach utilized has been made more transparent, allowing others to utilize the classification approach going forward.
Virus-specific T-cell immune responses are important in restraint of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication and control of disease. Plasma viral load is a key determinant of disease progression and infectiousness in HIV infection. Although HIV-1 subtype C (HIV-1C) is the predominant virus in the AIDS epidemic worldwide, the relationship between HIV-1C-specific T-cell immune responses and plasma viral load has not been elucidated. In the present study we address (i) the association between the level of plasma viral load and virus-specific immune responses to different HIV-1C proteins and their subregions and (ii) the specifics of correlation between plasma viral load and T-cell responses within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I HLA supertypes. Virus-specific immune responses in the natural course of HIV-1C infection were analyzed in the gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-enzyme-linked immunospot assay by using synthetic overlapping peptides corresponding to the HIV-1C consensus sequence. For Gag p24, a correlation was seen between better T-cell responses and lower plasma viral load. For Nef, an opposite trend was observed where a higher T-cell response was more likely to be associated with a higher viral load. At the level of the HLA supertypes, a lower viral load was associated with higher T-cell responses to Gag p24 within the HLA A2, A24, B27, and B58 supertypes, in contrast to the absence of such a correlation within the HLA B44 supertype. The present study demonstrated differential correlations (or trends to correlation) in various HIV-1C proteins, suggesting (i) an important role of the HIV-1C Gag p24-specific immune responses in control of viremia and (ii) more rapid viral escape from immune responses to Nef with no restraint of plasma viral load. Correlations between the level of IFN-γ-secreting T cells and viral load within the MHC class I HLA supertypes should be considered in HIV vaccine design and efficacy trials.
Epitopes from all available full-length sequences of yellow fever virus (YFV) and dengue fever virus (DENV) restricted by Human Leukocyte Antigen class I (HLA-I) alleles covering 12 HLA-I supertypes were predicted using the NetCTL algorithm. A subset of 179 predicted YFV and 158 predicted DENV epitopes were selected using the EpiSelect algorithm to allow for optimal coverage of viral strains. The selected predicted epitopes were synthesized and approximately 75% were found to bind the predicted restricting HLA molecule with an affinity, KD, stronger than 500 nM. The immunogenicity of 25 HLA-A*02:01, 28 HLA-A*24:02 and 28 HLA-B*07:02 binding peptides was tested in three HLA-transgenic mice models and led to the identification of 17 HLA-A*02:01, 4 HLA-A*2402 and 4 HLA-B*07:02 immunogenic peptides. The immunogenic peptides bound HLA significantly stronger than the non-immunogenic peptides. All except one of the immunogenic peptides had KD below 100 nM and the peptides with KD below 5 nM were more likely to be immunogenic. In addition, all the immunogenic peptides that were identified as having a high functional avidity had KD below 20 nM. A*02:01 transgenic mice were also inoculated twice with the 17DD YFV vaccine strain. Three of the YFV A*02:01 restricted peptides activated T-cells from the infected mice in vitro. All three peptides that elicited responses had an HLA binding affinity of 2 nM or less. The results indicate the importance of the strength of HLA binding in shaping the immune response.
The three-dimensional structure of a SARS coronavirus-derived peptide, VQQESSFVM, bound to the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigen HLA-B*1501 is presented.
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I system comprises a highly polymorphic set of molecules that specifically bind and present peptides to cytotoxic T cells. HLA-B*1501 is a prototypical member of the HLA-B62 supertype and only two peptide–HLA-B*1501 structures have been determined. Here, the crystal structure of HLA-B*1501 in complex with a SARS coronavirus-derived nonapeptide (VQQESSFVM) has been determined at high resolution (1.87 Å). The peptide is deeply anchored in the B and F pockets, but with the Glu4 residue pointing away from the floor in the peptide-binding groove, making it available for interactions with a potential T-cell receptor.
human leukocyte antigen class I; SARS coronavirus-derived peptides; HLA-B*1501
The identification of peptide vaccine candidates to date has been focused on human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A2 and -A24 alleles. In this study, we attempted to identify cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-directed Lck-derived peptides applicable to HLA-A11+, -A31+, or -A33+ cancer patients, because these HLA-A alleles share binding motifs, designated HLA-A3 supertype alleles, and because the Lck is preferentially expressed in metastatic cancer. Twenty-one Lck-derived peptides were prepared based on the binding motif to the HLA-A3 supertype alleles. They were first screened for their recognisability by immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the plasma of prostate cancer patients, and the selected candidates were subsequently tested for their potential to induce peptide-specific CTLs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HLA-A3 supertype+ cancer patients. As a result, four Lck peptides were frequently recognised by IgGs, and three of them – Lck90−99, Lck449−458, and Lck450−458 – efficiently induced peptide-specific and cancer-reactive CTLs. Their cytotoxicity towards cancer cells was mainly ascribed to HLA class I-restricted and peptide-specific CD8+ T cells. These results indicate that these three Lck peptides are applicable to HLA-A3 supertype+ cancer patients, especially those with metastasis. This information could facilitate the development of peptide-based anti-cancer vaccine for patients with alleles other than HLA-A2 and -A24.
Lck; cytotoxic T lymphocyte; peptide; HLA-A3 supertype
Previously, we identified a set of HLA-A020.1-restricted trans-sialidase peptides as targets of CD8+ T cell responses in HLA-A0201+ individuals chronically infected by T. cruzi.
Methods and Findings
Herein, we report the identification of peptides encoded by the same trans-sialidase gene family that bind alleles representative of the 6 most common class I HLA-supertypes. Based on a combination of bioinformatic predictions and HLA-supertype considerations, a total of 1001 epitopes predicted to bind to HLA A01, A02, A03, A24, B7 and B44 supertypes was selected. Ninety-six supertype-binder epitopes encoded by multiple trans-sialidase genes were tested for the ability to stimulate a recall CD8+ T cell response in the peripheral blood from subjects with chronic T. cruzi infection regardless the HLA haplotype. An overall hierarchy of antigenicity was apparent, with the A02 supertype peptides being the most frequently recognized in the Chagas disease population followed by the A03 and the A24 supertype epitopes. CD8+ T cell responses to promiscuous epitopes revealed that the CD8+ T cell compartment specific for T. cruzi displays a functional profile with T cells secreting interferon-γ alone as the predominant pattern and very low prevalence of single IL-2-secreting or dual IFN-γ/IL-2 secreting T cells denoting a lack of polyfunctional cytokine responses in chronic T. cruzi infection.
This study identifies a set of T. cruzi peptides that should prove useful for monitoring immune competence and changes in infection and disease status in individuals with chronic Chagas disease.
At present, 16–20 million people in Central and South America are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease in humans. The primary clinical consequence of the infection is a cardiomyopathy, which manifests in approximately 30% of infected individuals, many years after the initial infection. Our work in Chagas disease patients began as an effort to assess the range and specificity of antigens that were recognized by T cells, in particular CD8+ T cells, in individuals with long-term infections with Trypanosoma cruzi. Trans-sialidase proteins from T. cruzi are major surface and released proteins that are targets of humoral and cellular immune responses. We previously, identified a set of trans-sialidase peptides that were recognized by a very low frequency of chronically T. cruzi-infected subjects. Based on bioinformatic predictions, herein we report the identification of new trans-sialidase epitopes that are recognized by a higher proportion of T. cruzi-infected people. The functional profile of T cells specific for these peptides is characteristic of an infection with long term stimulation of the immune system, with high levels of IFN-γ-secreting T cells and low levels of IL-2 production. This set of T. cruzi peptides should prove useful for monitoring immune competence and changes in infection and disease status in individuals with chronic Chagas disease.
It is many years since the general population has been vaccinated against smallpox virus. Here we report that human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I restricted T cell epitopes can be recognised more than 30 years after vaccination. Using bioinformatic methods we predicted 177 potential cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes. Eight epitopes were confirmed to stimulate IFN-γ release by T cells in smallpox vaccinated subjects. The epitopes were restricted by five supertypes (HLA-A1, -A2, -A24 -A26 and -B44). Significant T cell responses were detected against 8 of 45 peptides with an HLA class I affinity of KD less than or equal to 5 nM, whereas no T cell responses were detected against 60 peptides with an HLA affinity of KD more than 5nM. All epitopes were fully conserved in seven variola, vaccinia and cowpox strains. Knowledge of the long term response to smallpox vaccination may lead to a better understanding of poxvirus immunity and may aid in the development of new improved vaccines and diagnostic tools.
Peptide; CD8+ T cell epitopes; Variola; Vaccinia; Orthopoxviruses; HLA
Childhood B-cell precursor (BCP) ALL is thought to be caused by a delayed immune response to an unidentified postnatal infection. An association between BCP ALL and HLA class II (DR, DQ, DP) alleles could provide further clues to the identity of the infection, since HLA molecules exhibit allotype-restricted binding of infection-derived antigenic peptides. We clustered >30 HLA-DPB1 alleles into six predicted peptide-binding supertypes (DP1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8), based on amino acid di-morphisms at positions 11 (G/L), 69 (E/K), and 84 (G/D) of the DPβ1 domain. We found that the DPβ11-69-84 supertype GEG (DP2), was 70% more frequent in BCP ALL (n=687; P<10−4), and 98% more frequent in cases diagnosed between 3 and 6 years (P<10−4), but not <3 or >6 years, than in controls. Only one of 21 possible DPB1 supergenotypes, GEG/GKG (DP2/DP4) was significantly more frequent in BCP ALL (P=0.00004) than controls. These results suggest that susceptibility to BCP ALL is associated with the DP2 supertype, which is predicted to bind peptides with positively charged, nonpolar aromatic residues at the P4 position, and hydrophobic residues at the P1 and P6 positions. Studies of peptide binding by DP2 alleles could help to identify infection(s) carrying these peptides.
HLA-DPB1; supertypes; BCP ALL; case–control comparison; allele frequency; peptide-binding pockets
T-cell epitopes that promiscuously bind to multiple alleles of a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) supertype are prime targets for development of vaccines and immunotherapies because they are relevant to a large proportion of the human population. The presence of clusters of promiscuous T-cell epitopes, immunological hotspots, has been observed in several antigens. These clusters may be exploited to facilitate the development of epitope-based vaccines by selecting a small number of hotspots that can elicit all of the required T-cell activation functions. Given the large size of pathogen proteomes, including of variant strains, computational tools are necessary for automated screening and selection of immunological hotspots.
Hotspot Hunter is a web-based computational system for large-scale screening and selection of candidate immunological hotspots in pathogen proteomes through analysis of antigenic diversity. It allows screening and selection of hotspots specific to four common HLA supertypes, namely HLA class I A2, A3, B7 and class II DR. The system uses Artificial Neural Network and Support Vector Machine methods as predictive engines. Soft computing principles were employed to integrate the prediction results produced by both methods for robust prediction performance. Experimental validation of the predictions showed that Hotspot Hunter can successfully identify majority of the real hotspots. Users can predict hotspots from a single protein sequence, or from a set of aligned protein sequences representing pathogen proteome. The latter feature provides a global view of the localizations of the hotspots in the proteome set, enabling analysis of antigenic diversity and shift of hotspots across protein variants. The system also allows the integration of prediction results of the four supertypes for identification of hotspots common across multiple supertypes. The target selection feature of the system shortlists candidate peptide hotspots for the formulation of an epitope-based vaccine that could be effective against multiple variants of the pathogen and applicable to a large proportion of the human population.
Hotspot Hunter is publicly accessible at . It is a new generation computational tool aiding in epitope-based vaccine design.
Hepatitis C is the major health problem over the globe affecting approximately 200 million people worldwide and about 10 million
Pakistani populations. Developing countries are especially facing the problems of HCV infection. Hence the goal of the study was
to find out the antigenic epitopes that could be effective vaccine targets of HCV genotype 1 of Asian origin against HLA alleles
frequently distributed in Asian countries. A total of 85 complete genome sequences of HCV 1 of Asian origin were retrieved from
the HCV sequence database. Using in silico tools, T cell epitopes were predicted from conserved regions of all the available HCV 1
subtypes against Asian HLA alleles. Using 10 MHC I supertypes 51 epitopes was predicted as promiscuous binders. MHC class I
supertypes A2 and B7 were found to be good promiscuous binders for a large number of predicted epitopes. Other alleles of MHC
I supertypes (B57, B27, BX, B44) either were not respondent as promiscuous binders or responded only to a limited number of
epitopes. Against 8 predominantly found Asian alleles of DRB1 supertype, 42 epitopes was predicted as promiscuous binders.
MHC class II alleles DRB1-0101, DRB1-0701 and DRB1-1501 were the highest binders to promiscuous predicted epitopes while
DRB1-0301 was the least binder for the predicted promiscuous epitopes of HCV 1 genotype of Asian origin. Literature review
survey of predicted epitopes via IEDB also confirmed that great numbers of predicted epitopes are true positive. Hence,
sophisticated selection of viral proteins and MHCs provided conserved promiscuous epitopes that can be used as effective vaccine
candidates for all Asian counties.
HCV - hepatitis C virus,
MHC - major histocompatability complex,
HLA - human leukocyte antigen,
CTL - cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
Hepatitus C Virus; Immunoinformatics; MHC; Epitope; Conservancy; Asia
Epitope-based vaccines provide a new strategy for prophylactic and therapeutic application of pathogen-specific immunity. A critical requirement of this strategy is the identification and selection of T-cell epitopes that act as vaccine targets. This study describes current methodologies for the selection process, with dengue virus as a model system. A combination of publicly available bioinformatics algorithms and computational tools are used to screen and select antigen sequences as potential T-cell epitopes of supertype HLA alleles. The selected sequences are tested for biological function by their activation of T-cells of HLA transgenic mice and of pathogen infected subjects. This approach provides an experimental basis for the design of pathogen specific, T-cell epitope-based vaccines that are targeted to majority of the genetic variants of the pathogen, and are effective for a broad range of differences in human leukocyte antigens among the global human population.
T-cell epitopes; epitope-based vaccines; bioinformatics; pathogens; immune system; entropy; conserved sequences; immunological hotspots; altered-ligand effect; supertypes
Immunization with vaccinia virus (VACV) resulted in long-lasting protection against smallpox and successful global eradication of the disease. VACV elicits strong cellular as well as humoral immune responses. Although neutralizing antibody is essential for protection, cellular immunity seems to be more important for recovery from infection in humans. We analyzed the immunodominance hierarchy of 73 previously identified VACV human CD8+ T cell epitopes restricted by HLA-A1, A2, A3, A24, B7 or B44 alleles or the alleles belonging to one of these supertypes in 56 donors after primary VACV immunization. Except for the responses to HLA-A24 supertype-restricted epitopes, there were no consistent patterns of epitope immunodominance among donors sharing the same HLA alleles or supertypes, which is in sharp contrast with the mouse studies. We, however, identified 12 epitopes that were recognized by ≥20% of donors sharing the same HLA allele; six of these contributed ≥20% of the total VACV-specific T cell response in at least one individual. VACV-specific CD8+ T cell responses targeted a group of epitopes, “relatively dominant” epitopes, without a strong immunodominance hierarchy in humans, which may be advantageous to humans to prevent the emergence of T cell escape mutants.
vaccinia virus; poxvirus; CD8+ T cell epitope; immunodominance; HLA supertype
The majority of peptide-based cancer vaccines under development are for human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A2- or -A24-positive patients. To overcome this limitation, we conducted a phase I clinical study of peptide vaccines designed for cancer patients with six different HLA-A types. Eligible patients were required to have failed prior standard cancer therapies and to be positive for the HLA-A2, -A24 or -A3 (A3, A11, A31 and A33) supertype. Three sets of 8 candidate peptides (24 peptides in total) were provided for vaccination to HLA-A2+, HLA-A24+ and HLA-A3+ patients, respectively. Personalization of the vaccination peptides from the candidate pool was made by considering the patients’ HLA types and pre-existing levels of IgGs to the candidate peptides. Seventeen patients were enrolled in this study. The peptide vaccinations were well tolerated in all patients with no vaccine-related severe adverse events. Augmentation of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) or IgG responses specific to the vaccinated peptides was observed in 11 or 10 out of 13 cases tested, respectively. This new type of vaccine is recommended for phase II clinical trial because of its tolerability and the immune responses to the vaccinated peptides.
personalized; cancer vaccine; peptide; clinical trial; phase I
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I genes mediate cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses and natural killer cell function. In a previous study, several HLA-B and HLA-C alleles and haplotypes were positively or negatively associated with the occurrence and prognosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
As an extension of the Upper Midwest Health Study, we have performed HLA genotyping for 149 GBM patients and 149 healthy control subjects from a non-metropolitan population consisting almost exclusively of European Americans. Conditional logistic regression models did not reproduce the association of HLA-B*07 or the B*07-Cw*07 haplotype with GBM. Nonetheless, HLA-A*32, which has previously been shown to predispose GBM patients to a favorable prognosis, was negatively associated with occurrence of GBM (odds ratio = 0.41, p = 0.04 by univariate analysis). Other alleles (A*29, A*30, A*31 and A*33) within the A19 serology group to which A*32 belongs showed inconsistent trends. Sequencing-based HLA-A genotyping established that A*3201 was the single A*32 allele underlying the observed association. Additional evaluation of HLA-A promoter and exon 1 sequences did not detect any unexpected single nucleotide polymorphisms that could suggest differential allelic expression. Further analyses restricted to female GBM cases and controls revealed a second association with a specific HLA-B sequence motif corresponding to Bw4-80Ile (odds ratio = 2.71, p = 0.02).
HLA-A allelic product encoded by A*3201 is likely to be functionally important to GBM. The novel, sex-specific association will require further confirmation in other representative study populations.