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Protein Eng Des Sel. 2010 Jun;23(6):441-8. doi: 10.1093/protein/gzq014. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Use of amino acid composition to predict epitope residues of individual antibodies.

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Molecular Medicine Research Laboratories, Drug Discovery Research, Astellas Pharma Inc., 21 Miyukigaoka, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8585, Japan.


We identified specific amino acid propensities at the interfaces of antigen-antibody interactions in non-redundant qualified antigen-antibody complex structures from Protein Data Bank. Propensities were expressed by the frequency of each of the 20 x 20 standard amino acid pairs that appeared at the interfaces of the complexes and were named the antibody-specific epitope propensity (ASEP) index. Using this index, we developed a novel method of predicting epitope residues for individual antibodies by narrowing down candidate epitope residues which was predicted by the conventional method. The 74 benchmarked antigens were used in ASEP prediction. The efficiency of this method was assessed using the leave-one-out approach. On elimination of residues with ASEP indices in the lowest 10% of all measured, true positives were enriched for 49 antigens. On subsequent elimination of residues with ASEP indices in the lowest 50%, true positives were enriched for 40 of the 74 antigens assessed. The ASEP index is the first benchmark proposed to predict epitope residues for an individual antibody. Used in combination with mutation experiments, this index has the potential to markedly increase the success ratio of epitope analysis.

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