High-throughput prediction of protein antigenicity using protein microarray data

Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics, School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.
Bioinformatics (Impact Factor: 4.98). 10/2010; 26(23):2936-43. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btq551
Source: PubMed


Discovery of novel protective antigens is fundamental to the development of vaccines for existing and emerging pathogens. Most computational methods for predicting protein antigenicity rely directly on homology with previously characterized protective antigens; however, homology-based methods will fail to discover truly novel protective antigens. Thus, there is a significant need for homology-free methods capable of screening entire proteomes for the antigens most likely to generate a protective humoral immune response.
Here we begin by curating two types of positive data: (i) antigens that elicit a strong antibody response in protected individuals but not in unprotected individuals, using human immunoglobulin reactivity data obtained from protein microarray analyses; and (ii) known protective antigens from the literature. The resulting datasets are used to train a sequence-based prediction model, ANTIGENpro, to predict the likelihood that a protein is a protective antigen. ANTIGENpro correctly classifies 82% of the known protective antigens when trained using only the protein microarray datasets. The accuracy on the combined dataset is estimated at 76% by cross-validation experiments. Finally, ANTIGENpro performs well when evaluated on an external pathogen proteome for which protein microarray data were obtained after the initial development of ANTIGENpro.
ANTIGENpro is integrated in the SCRATCH suite of predictors available at http://scratch.proteomics.ics.uci.edu.

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