Immunoinformatics screening of prospective mhc class i restricted cytotoxic t-cell based epitopes in zika virus

Kishore Sarma, Sudipta Sankar Bora, Aniruddha Jakharia, Pradyumna K. Mohapatra and Biswajyoti Borkakoty

In a recent development, Zika virus (ZIKV) a zoonotic arbovirus responsible for nonspecific clinical presentation has cautiously been linked to the latest cases of neonatal microcephaly. Several reports of ZIKV epidemic outbreaks certainly necessitate new regimen of preventive measures. Therefore the present study aims to screen novel promiscuous epitopes which can efficiently evoke CTL response against ZIKV infections. Using immunoinformatics approach, ZIKV polyprotein was screened to identify prospective epitopes preferentially binding to MHC class I molecules. Out of 1,798 hits, five candidate epitopes from each protein were selected based on IEDB and SYFPEITHI score. These candidate epitopes were further tested for their population coverage, antigenicityd conservancy within the human proteome and existing ZIKV lineages. Five most promiscuous epitopes (covering more than 60% worldwide population) from various structural and nonstructural proteins (E1: MMLELDPPF from envelope, E2: FAAGAWYVY and E3: MTICGMNPI from NS2B, E4: YAWDFGVPL and E5: MAMATQAGV from NS4B) were selected. E1, E2 and E5 exhibited 100% conservancy among the representative strains. Molecular docking study revealed their efficient binding affinity with representative HLA allele A*0201. This study proposes the possible usage of these epitopes towards candidate vaccine development against ZIKV.

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