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Identification of broadly reactive epitopes targeting major glycoproteins of Herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2 - An immunoinformatics analysis

Chauhan, Varun, Goyal, Kapil, Singh, Mini P.
Infection, genetics, and evolution 2018 v.61 pp. 24-35
B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes, World Health Organization, alleles, computer simulation, epitopes, glycoproteins, glycosylation, herpes simplex, humoral immunity, immune response, immunogenicity, immunoinformatics, public health, vaccine development, vaccines, viruses
Infections due to both HSV-1 and HSV-2 constitute an enormous health burden worldwide. Development of vaccine against herpes infections is a WHO supported public health priority. The viral glycoproteins have always been the major hotspots for vaccine designing. The present study was aimed to identify the conserved T and B cell epitopes in the major glycoproteins of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 via rigorous computational approaches. Identification of promiscuous T cell epitopes is of utmost importance in vaccine designing as such epitopes are capable of binding to several allelic forms of HLA and could generate effective immune response in the host. The criteria designed for identification of T and B cell epitopes was that it should be conserved in both HSV-1 and 2, promiscuous, have high affinity towards HLA alleles, should be located on the surface of glycoproteins and not be present in the glycosylation sites. This study led to the identification of 17 HLA Class II and 26 HLA Class I T cell epitopes, 9 linear and some conformational B cell epitopes. The identified T cell epitopes were further subjected to molecular docking analysis to analyze their binding patterns. Altogether we have identified 4 most promising regions in glycoproteins (2-gB, 1-gD, 1-gH) of HSV-1 and 2 which are promiscuous to HLA Class II alleles and have overlapping HLA Class I and B cell epitopes, which could be very useful in generating both arms of immune response in the host i.e. adaptive as well as humoral immunity. Further the authors propose the cross-validation of the identified epitopes in experimental settings for confirming their immunogenicity to support the present findings.