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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 738020, 11 pages
Research Article

EPIPOX: Immunoinformatic Characterization of the Shared T-Cell Epitome between Variola Virus and Related Pathogenic Orthopoxviruses

1School of Medicine, Unit of Immunology, Complutense University of Madrid, Pza. Ramón y Cajal, s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2School of Life and Health Sciences, University of Aston, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK

Received 26 June 2015; Revised 8 September 2015; Accepted 1 October 2015

Academic Editor: Jacek Tabarkiewicz

Copyright © 2015 Magdalena Molero-Abraham 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.


Concerns that variola viruses might be used as bioweapons have renewed the interest in developing new and safer smallpox vaccines. Variola virus genomes are now widely available, allowing computational characterization of the entire T-cell epitome and the use of such information to develop safe and yet effective vaccines. To this end, we identified 124 proteins shared between various species of pathogenic orthopoxviruses including variola minor and major, monkeypox, cowpox, and vaccinia viruses, and we targeted them for T-cell epitope prediction. We recognized 8,106, and 8,483 unique class I and class II MHC-restricted T-cell epitopes that are shared by all mentioned orthopoxviruses. Subsequently, we developed an immunological resource, EPIPOX, upon the predicted T-cell epitome. EPIPOX is freely available online and it has been designed to facilitate reverse vaccinology. Thus, EPIPOX includes key epitope-focused protein annotations: time point expression, presence of leader and transmembrane signals, and known location on outer membrane structures of the infective viruses. These features can be used to select specific T-cell epitopes suitable for experimental validation restricted by single MHC alleles, as combinations thereof, or by MHC supertypes.