The cellular immune system recognizes self-epitopes in the context of MHC-I molecules. The immunological general view presumes that these self-epitopes are just a background, both positively and negatively selecting T cells. We here estimate the number of epitopes in each human protein for many frequent HLA alleles, and a score representing over or under presentation of epitopes on these proteins. We further show that there is a clear selection for the presentation of specific self-protein types. Proteins presenting many epitopes include, for example, autoimmune regulator (AIRE) upregulated tissue-specific antigens, immune system receptors and proteins with a high expression level. On the other hand, proteins that may be considered less "useful" for the immune system, such as low expression level proteins, are under-presented.We combine our epitope estimate with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) measures to show that this selection can be directly observed through the fraction of non-synonymous SNP (replacement fraction), which is significantly higher inside epitopes than outside.
- CD8 T cells