Prediction of T-cell epitopes of hepatitis C virus genotype 5a

Maemu P. Gededzha, M. Jeffrey Mphahlele, Selokela G. Selabe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a public health problem with almost 185 million people estimated to be infected worldwide and is one of the leading causes of hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently, there is no vaccine for HCV infection and the current treatment does not clear the infection in all patients. Because of the high diversity of HCV, protective vaccines will have to overcome significant viral antigenic diversities. The objective of this study was to predict T-cell epitopes from HCV genotype 5a sequences. Methods: HCV near full-length protein sequences were analyzed to predict T-cell epitopes that bind human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and HLA class II in HCV genotype 5a using Propred I and Propred, respectively. The Antigenicity score of all the predicted epitopes were analysed using VaxiJen v2.0. All antigenic predicted epitopes were analysed for conservation using the IEDB database in comparison with 406, 221, 98, 33, 45, 45 randomly selected sequences from each of the HCV genotypes 1a, 1b, 2, 3, 4 and 6 respectively, downloaded from the GenBank. For epitope prediction binding to common HLA alleles found in South Africa, the IEDB epitope analysis tool was used. Results: A total of 24 and 77 antigenic epitopes that bind HLA class I and HLA class II respectively were predicted. The highest number of HLA class I binding epitopes were predicted within the NS3 (63%), followed by NS5B (21%). For the HLA class II, the highest number of epitopes were predicted in the NS3 (30%) followed by the NS4B (23%) proteins. For conservation analysis, 8 and 31 predicted epitopes were conserved in different genotypes for HLA class I and HLA class II alleles respectively. Several epitopes bind with high affinity for both HLA class I alleles and HLA class II common in South Africa. Conclusion: The predicted conserved T-cell epitopes analysed in this study will contribute towards the future design of HCV vaccine candidates which will avoid variation in genotypes, which in turn will be capable of inducing broad HCV specific immune responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number187
JournalVirology Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Genotype 5a
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • In-silico
  • T-cell epitopes
  • Vaccines


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