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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 467852, 7 pages
Review Article

Evaluating the Immunogenicity of Protein Drugs by Applying In Vitro MHC Binding Data and the Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Resource

La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, 9420 Athena Circle, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037, USA

Received 6 May 2013; Accepted 3 September 2013

Academic Editor: Pedro A. Reche

Copyright © 2013 Sinu Paul 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.


The immune system has evolved to become highly specialized in recognizing and responding to pathogens and foreign molecules. Specifically, the function of HLA class II is to ensure that a sufficient sample of peptides derived from foreign molecules is presented to T cells. This leads to an important concern in human drug development as the possible immunogenicity of biopharmaceuticals, especially those intended for chronic administration, can lead to reduced efficacy and an undesired safety profile for biological therapeutics. As part of this review, we will highlight the molecular basis of antigen presentation as a key step in the induction of T cell responses, emphasizing the events associated with peptide binding to polymorphic and polygenic HLA class II molecules. We will further review methodologies that predict HLA class II binding peptides and candidate epitopes. We will focus on tools provided by the Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Resource, discussing the basic features of different prediction methods, the objective evaluation of prediction quality, and general guidelines for practical use of these tools. Finally the use, advantages, and limitations of the methodology will be demonstrated in a review of two previous studies investigating the immunogenicity of erythropoietin and timothy grass pollen.