Machine learning competition in immunology – Prediction of HLA class I binding peptides

Guang Lan Zhang, Hifzur Rahman Ansari, Phil Bradley, Gavin C. Cawley, Tomer Hertz, Xihao Hu, Nebojsa Jojic, Yohan Kim, Oliver Kohlbacher, Ole Lund, Claus Lundegaard, Craig A. Magaret, Morten Nielsen, Harris Papadopoulos, G.P.S. Raghava, Vider-Shalit Tal, Li C. Xue, Chen Yanover, Shanfeng Zhu, Michael T. RockJames E. Crowe, Christos Panayiotou, Marios M. Polycarpou, Włodzisław Duch, Vladimir Brusic

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Experimental studies of immune system and related applications such as characterization of immune responses against pathogens, vaccine design, or optimization of therapies are combinatorially complex, time-consuming and expensive. The main methods for large-scale identification of T-cell epitopes from pathogens or cancer proteomes involve either reverse immunology or high-throughput mass spectrometry (HTMS). Reverse immunology approaches involve pre-screening of proteomes by computational algorithms, followed by experimental validation of selected targets ( [Mora et al., 2006], [De Groot et al., 2008] and [Larsen et al., 2010]). HTMS involves HLA typing, immunoaffinity chromatography of HLA molecules, HLA extraction, and chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry, followed by the application of computational algorithms for peptide characterization (Bassani-Sternberg et al., 2010). Hundreds of naturally processed HLA class I associated peptides have been identified in individual studies using HTMS in normal (Escobar et al., 2008), cancer ( [Antwi et al., 2009] and [Bassani-Sternberg et al., 2010]), autoimmunity-related (Ben Dror et al., 2010), and infected samples (Wahl et al, 2010). Computational algorithms are essential steps in high-throughput identification of T-cell epitope candidates using both reverse immunology and HTMS approaches. Peptide binding to MHC molecules is the single most selective step in defining T cell epitope and the accuracy of computational algorithms for prediction of peptide binding, therefore, determines the accuracy of the overall method. Computational predictions of peptide binding to HLA, both class I and class II, use a variety of algorithms ranging from binding motifs to advanced machine learning techniques ( [Brusic et al., 2004] and [Lafuente and Reche, 2009]) and standards for their assessments have been developed. The assessments of computational servers that predict peptide binding to several common HLA class I alleles have been performed by different groups (see [Peters et al., 2006], [Lin et al., 2008] and [Gowthaman et al., 2010]). Some of these models were reported to be highly accurate while others need improvement.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
    Issue number1-2
    Pages (from-to)1-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Computational models
    • Peptide binding
    • Human leukocyte antigen
    • HLA
    • Predictions
    • Machine learning


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