Is there a way to predict the number and location of dominant determinants within a native antigen?
Kamal D. Moudgil
Both foreign and self antigens possess determinants that are either dominant (which are well processed and presented) or crypic (poorly processed and presented, or not at all). It has been observed that T cell responses to a native foreign antigen are focused on only a few dominant determinants. This phenomenon is referred to as immunodominance. In the case of self antigens, the dominant determinants might be of significance in inducing determinant-specific T cell tolerance in the thymus. The results of our studies using hen eggwhite lysosyme (HEL) as a foreign antigen have shown that mice of different MHC halotypes raise responses to different sets of dominant determinants within HEL. Such dominant determinants have also been described for other native antigens. An important question that we wish to pose to the modeling experts is to devise a model or scheme which can help us to predict the number and location of dominant determinants within a native antigen. For this purpose, characteristics of various dominant determinants (e.g., MHC binding avidity, etc) from different native antigens can serve as a useful baseline database. The information derived from such models would be of great help in planning studies relating to vaccine design for infectious and autoimmune diseases.
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