We describe here a new method for predicting class II major histocompatibility complex-binding peptides, based on the preferences observed in a systematic series of peptide binding experiments where each position in a "minimal" peptide was replaced individually by every amino acid. The DRB1*0401 peptide binding preferences were determined and incorporated into a computer program that looks through sequences for potential epitopes and assigns each a score. These scores correlate well with previously determined T cell epitopes of foreign antigens and endogenous peptides from self proteins. Our findings hold implications for the design of subunit vaccines and in the identification of autoantigenic peptide regions within self proteins.

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