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Designing immunogenic peptides

Peptides fulfill many roles in immunology, yet none are more important than their role as immunogenic epitopes driving the adaptive immune response, our ultimate bulwark against infectious disease. Peptide epitopes are mediated primarily by their interaction with major histocompatibility complexes (T-cell epitopes) and antibodies (B-cell epitopes). As pathogen genomes continue to be revealed, both experimental and computational epitope mapping are becoming crucial tools in vaccine discovery1,2. Immunoinformatics offers many tools, techniques and approaches for in silico epitope characterization, which is capable of greatly accelerating epitope design.

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Figure 1: Peptide epitopes come in many guises but the most important are mediated by the MHC-TCR recognition system and by antibodies.
Figure 2: MHCs come in two varieties, with different structures and different functions.
Figure 3: The complexity of antigen presentation.


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Correspondence to Darren R Flower.

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Flower, D. Designing immunogenic peptides. Nat Chem Biol 9, 749–753 (2013).

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