When planning an experiment it is important to decide which epitopes are to be studied and to know their corresponding Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) restriction.
When using a mouse experimental model it is important to know which MHC allele is expressed by the strain of inbred mouse to be used, Table 1.
For example, H-2 Kb MHC Pentamers can only be used with samples from C57BL/6 mice. The T cell receptors of these mice are restricted to H-2 Kb or H-2 Db for class I MHC and therefore will not interact with H-2 Kd Pentamers, for example.
When analyzing human samples it is important to know that the donor is positive for the MHC allele to be investigated. Donor samples therefore either have to be tissue typed or at least serotyped for the allele(s) of interest. Table 2 shows the frequency of the top 30 human class I alleles in four US ethnic groups (White, Black, Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander*). In certain disease areas and populations the immune response to some epitopes is well characterized, e.g. CMV, EBV. In these cases the published literature will assist experimental planning. The technical support team at ProImmune is happy to offer advice about epitopes and MHC alleles to be used in a given study.
MHC alleles expressed by commonly used inbred mouse strains.
H-2 Class I
H-2 Class II
Frequency of the top 30 human class I MHC alleles in the North American population.
Data from HLA Matchmaker
*Note that these definitions of ethnic categories are based on those recommended by the US government. According to the United Nations, the definition of ethic groups varies from country to country and no internationally accepted criteria are possible.
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