Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

HLA-I molecules play a central role in antigen presentation. They typically bind 9- to 12-mer peptides, and their canonical binding mode involves anchor residues at the second and last positions of their ligands. To investigate potential noncanonical binding modes, we collected in-depth and accurate HLA peptidomics datasets covering 54 HLA-I alleles and developed algorithms to analyze these data. Our results reveal frequent (442 unique peptides) and statistically significant C-terminal extensions for at least eight alleles, including the common HLA-A03:01, HLA-A31:01, and HLA-A68:01. High resolution crystal structure of HLA-A68:01 with such a ligand uncovers structural changes taking place to accommodate C-terminal extensions and helps unraveling sequence and structural properties predictive of the presence of these extensions. Scanning viral proteomes with the C-terminal extension motifs identifies many putative epitopes and we demonstrate direct recognition by human CD8+ T cells of a 10-mer epitope from cytomegalovirus predicted to follow the C-terminal extension binding mode.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date





5083 - 5088