A systematic bioinformatics approach for selection of epitope-based vaccine targets.
Khan AM., Miotto O., Heiny AT., Salmon J., Srinivasan KN., Nascimento EJM., Marques ETA., Brusic V., Tan TW., August JT.
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 human leukocyte antigen (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.