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Open Access Research article

Computational analysis and modeling of cleavage by the immunoproteasome and the constitutive proteasome

Carmen M Diez-Rivero12, Esther M Lafuente2 and Pedro A Reche12*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Immunomedicine, Department of Microbiology I-Immunology, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ave Complutense S/N, Madrid 28040, Spain

2 Department of Microbiology I-Immunology, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ave Complutense S/N, Madrid 28040, Spain

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BMC Bioinformatics 2010, 11:479  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-479

Published: 23 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Proteasomes play a central role in the major histocompatibility class I (MHCI) antigen processing pathway. They conduct the proteolytic degradation of proteins in the cytosol, generating the C-terminus of CD8 T cell epitopes and MHCI-peptide ligands (P1 residue of cleavage site). There are two types of proteasomes, the constitutive form, expressed in most cell types, and the immunoproteasome, which is constitutively expressed in mature dendritic cells. Protective CD8 T cell epitopes are likely generated by the immunoproteasome and the constitutive proteasome, and here we have modeled and analyzed the cleavage by these two proteases.

Results

We have modeled the immunoproteasome and proteasome cleavage sites upon two non-overlapping sets of peptides consisting of 553 CD8 T cell epitopes, naturally processed and restricted by human MHCI molecules, and 382 peptides eluted from human MHCI molecules, respectively, using N-grams. Cleavage models were generated considering different epitope and MHCI-eluted fragment lengths and the same number of C-terminal flanking residues. Models were evaluated in 5-fold cross-validation. Judging by the Mathew's Correlation Coefficient (MCC), optimal cleavage models for the proteasome (MCC = 0.43 ± 0.07) and the immunoproteasome (MCC = 0.36 ± 0.06) were obtained from 12-residue peptide fragments. Using an independent dataset consisting of 137 HIV1-specific CD8 T cell epitopes, the immunoproteasome and proteasome cleavage models achieved MCC values of 0.30 and 0.18, respectively, comparatively better than those achieved by related methods. Using ROC analyses, we have also shown that, combined with MHCI-peptide binding predictions, cleavage predictions by the immunoproteasome and proteasome models significantly increase the discovery rate of CD8 T cell epitopes restricted by different MHCI molecules, including A*0201, A*0301, A*2402, B*0702, B*2705.

Conclusions

We have developed models that are specific to predict cleavage by the proteasome and the immunoproteasome. These models ought to be instrumental to identify protective CD8 T cell epitopes and are readily available for free public use at http://imed.med.ucm.es/Tools/PCPS/ webcite.