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In Briefings in bioinformatics

Human leukocyte antigens (HLA) regulate various innate and adaptive immune responses and play a crucial immunomodulatory role. Recent studies revealed that non-classical HLA-(HLA-E & HLA-G) based immunotherapies have many advantages over traditional HLA-based immunotherapy, particularly against cancer and COVID-19 infection. In the last two decades, several methods have been developed to predict the binders of classical HLA alleles. In contrast, limited attempts have been made to develop methods for predicting non-classical HLA binding peptides, due to the scarcity of sufficient experimental data. Of note, in order to facilitate the scientific community, we have developed an artificial intelligence-based method for predicting binders of class-Ib HLA alleles. All the models were trained and tested on experimentally validated data obtained from the recent release of IEDB. The machine learning models achieved more than 0.98 AUC for HLA-G alleles on validation dataset. Similarly, our models achieved the highest AUC of 0.96 and 0.94 on the validation dataset for HLA-E*01:01 and HLA-E*01:03, respectively. We have summarized the models developed in the past for non-classical HLA and validated the performance with the models developed in this study. Moreover, to facilitate the community, we have utilized our tool for predicting the potential non-classical HLA binding peptides in the spike protein of different variants of virus causing COVID-19, including Omicron (B.1.1.529). One of the major challenges in the field of immunotherapy is to identify the promiscuous binders or antigenic regions that can bind to a large number of HLA alleles. To predict the promiscuous binders for the non-classical HLA alleles, we developed a web server HLAncPred (https://webs.iiitd.edu.in/raghava/hlancpred) and standalone package.

Dhall Anjali, Patiyal Sumeet, Raghava Gajendra P S

2022-May-18

COVID-19, binders, non-classical HLA, prediction, standalone, web server