Identifiying human MHC supertypes using bioinformatic methods

Irini A. Doytchinova, Pingping Guan, Darren R. Flower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Classification of MHC molecules into supertypes in terms of peptide-binding specificities is an important issue, with direct implications for the development of epitope-based vaccines with wide population coverage. In view of extremely high MHC polymorphism (948 class I and 633 class II HLA alleles) the experimental solution of this task is presently impossible. In this study, we describe a bioinformatics strategy for classifying MHC molecules into supertypes using information drawn solely from three-dimensional protein structure. Two chemometric techniques–hierarchical clustering and principal component analysis–were used independently on a set of 783 HLA class I molecules to identify supertypes based on structural similarities and molecular interaction fields calculated for the peptide binding site. Eight supertypes were defined: A2, A3, A24, B7, B27, B44, C1, and C4. The two techniques gave 77% consensus, i.e., 605 HLA class I alleles were classified in the same supertype by both methods. The proposed strategy allowed “supertype fingerprints” to be identified. Thus, the A2 supertype fingerprint is Tyr9/Phe9, Arg97, and His114 or Tyr116; the A3-Tyr9/Phe9/Ser9, Ile97/Met97 and Glu114 or Asp116; the A24-Ser9 and Met97; the B7-Asn63 and Leu81; the B27-Glu63 and Leu81; for B44-Ala81; the C1-Ser77; and the C4-Asn77. action fields calculated for the peptide binding site. Eight supertypes were defined: A2, A3, A24, B7, B27, B44, C1, and C4. The two techniques gave 77% consensus, i.e., 605 HLA class I alleles were classified in the same supertype by both methods. The proposed strategy allowed “supertype fingerprints” to be identified. Thus, the A2 supertype fingerprint is Tyr9/Phe9, Arg97, and His114 or Tyr116; the A3-Tyr9/Phe9/Ser9, Ile97/Met97 and Glu114 or Asp116; the A24-Ser9 and Met97; the B7-Asn63 and Leu81; the B27-Glu63 and Leu81; for B44-Ala81; the C1-Ser77; and the C4-Asn77.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4314-4323
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume172
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004

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