Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-binding peptides are essential for antigen recognition by T-cell receptors and are being explored for vaccine design. Computational methods have been developed for predicting MHC-binding peptides of fixed lengths, based on the training of relatively few non-binders. It is desirable to introduce methods applicable for peptides of flexible lengths and trained by using more diverse sets of non-binders. MHC-BPS is a web-based MHC-binder prediction server that uses support vector machines for predicting peptide binders of flexible lengths for 18 MHC class I and 12 class II alleles from sequence-derived physicochemical properties, which were trained by using 4,208-3,252 binders and 234,333-168,793 non-binders, and evaluated by an independent set of 545-476 binders and 110,564-84,430 non-binders. The binder prediction accuracies are 86-99% for 25 and 70-80% for five alleles, and the non-binder accuracies are 96-99% for 30 alleles. A screening of HIV-1 genome identifies 0.01-5% and 5-8% of the constituent peptides as binders for 24 and 6 alleles, respectively, including 75-100% of the known epitopes. This method correctly predicts 73.3% of the 15 newly published epitopes in the last 4 months of 2005. MHC-BPS is available at http://bidd.cz3.nus.edu.sg/mhc/.
- MHC-binding peptide
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