Identification of epitopes capable of binding multiple HLA types will significantly rationalise the development of epitope-based vaccines. A quantitative method assessing the contribution of each amino acid at each position was applied to over 500 nonamer peptides binding to 5 MHC alleles — A*0201, A*0202, A*0203, A*0206 and A*6802 — which together define the HLA-A2-like supertype. FXIGXI (L)IFV was identified as a supermotif for the A2-supertype based on the contributions of the common preferred amino acids at each of the nine positions. The results indicate that HLA-A*6802 is an intermediate allele standing between A2 and A3 supertypes: at anchor position 2 it is closer to A3 and at anchor position 9 it is nearer to A2. Models are available free on-line at http://www.jenner.ac.uk/MHCPred and can be used for binding affinity prediction.
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