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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 3620141, 5 pages
Research Article

Comparative Analysis of Human B Cell Epitopes Based on BCG Genomes

State Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102206, China

Received 22 March 2016; Accepted 16 May 2016

Academic Editor: Frederick D. Quinn

Copyright © 2016 Machao Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Tuberculosis is a huge global health problem. BCG is the only vaccine used for about 100 years against TB, but the reasons for protection variability in populations remain unclear. To improve BCG efficacy and develop a strategy for new vaccines, the underlying genetic differences among BCG subtypes should be understood urgently. Methods and Findings. Human B cell epitope data were collected from the Immune Epitope Database. Epitope sequences were mapped with those of 15 genomes, including 13 BCGs, M. bovis AF2122/97, and M. tuberculosis H37Rv, to identify epitopes distribution. Among 398 experimentally verified B cell epitopes, 321 (80.7%) were conserved, while the remaining 77 (19.3%) were lost to varying degrees in BCGs. The variable protective efficacy of BCGs may result from the degree of B cell epitopes deficiency. Conclusions. Here we firstly analyzed the genetic characteristics of BCGs based on B cell epitopes and found that B cell epitopes distribution may contribute to vaccine efficacy. Restoration of important antigens or effective B cell epitopes in BCG could be a useful strategy for vaccine development.