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Tissue Antigens. 2003 Jan;61(1):12-9.

Population of the HLA ligand database.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.


We have established an HLA ligand database to provide scientists and clinicians with access to Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I and II motif and ligand data. The HLA Ligand Database is available on the world wide web at and contains ligands that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. HLA peptide datasets prove useful in several areas: ligands are important as targets for various immune responses while algorithms built upon ligand datasets allow identification of new peptides without time-consuming experimental procedures. A review of the HLA class I ligands in the database identifies strengths and deficiencies in the database and, therefore, the utility of the dataset for identifying new peptides. For instance, 212 HLA-A phenotypes exist of which 23 have a motif determined and 43 have peptides characterized. In terms of number of ligands, HLA-A*0201 has 258 characterized ligands, A*1101 has 25 peptides, while the remaining two-thirds of the HLA-A phenotypes have less than 10 associated peptide sequences. Characterization of ligands and motifs remains roughly the same at the HLA-B locus while the peptides of the HLA-C locus tend to be less characterized. These data show that 74% of HLA class I molecules do not have ligands represented in the database and thus algorithms based on the dataset could not predict ligands for a majority of the US population. Building upon this dataset and knowledge of HLA allelic frequencies, it is possible to plan a systematic expansion of the HLA class I ligand database to better identify ligands useful throughout the population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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