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'Hotspots' of Antigen Presentation Revealed by Human Leukocyte Antigen Ligandomics for Neoantigen Prioritization.
Frontiers in Immunology
The remarkable clinical efficacy of the immune checkpoint blockade therapies has motivated researchers to discover immunogenic epitopes and exploit them for personalized vaccines. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-binding peptides derived from processing and presentation of mutated proteins are one of the leading targets for T-cell recognition of cancer cells. Currently, most studies attempt to identify neoantigens based on predicted affinity to HLA molecules, but the performance of such prediction algorithms is rather poor for rare HLA class I alleles and for HLA class II. Direct identification of neoantigens by mass spectrometry (MS) is becoming feasible; however, it is not yet applicable to most patients and lacks sensitivity. In an attempt to capitalize on existing immunopeptidomics data and extract information that could complement HLA-binding prediction, we first compiled a large HLA class I and class II immunopeptidomics database across dozens of cell types and HLA allotypes and detected hotspots that are subsequences of proteins frequently presented. About 3% of the peptidome was detected in both class I and class II. Based on the gene ontology of their source proteins and the peptide's length, we propose that their processing may partake by the cellular class II presentation machinery. Our database captures the global nature of the in vivo peptidome averaged over many HLA alleles, and therefore, reflects the propensity of peptides to be presented on HLA complexes, which is complementary to the existing neoantigen prediction features such as binding affinity and stability or RNA abundance. We further introduce two immunopeptidomics MS-based features to guide prioritization of neoantigens: the number of peptides matching a protein in our database and the overlap of the predicted wild-type peptide with other peptides in our database. We show as a proof of concept that our immunopeptidomics MS-based features improved neoantigen prioritization by up to 50%. Overall, our work shows that, in addition to providing huge training data to improve the HLA binding prediction, immunopeptidomics also captures other aspects of the natural in vivo presentation that significantly improve prediction of clinically relevant neoantigens.
antigen processing and presentation, cancer immunotherapy, human leukocyte antigen-binding prediction, immunopeptidomics, mass spectrometry, neoantigens, personalized cancer vaccines
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