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The apicomplexan parasite Theileria parva is the causative agent of East Coast fever, usually a fatal disease for cattle, which is prevalent in large areas of eastern, central, and southern Africa. Protective immunity against T. parva is mediated by CD8+ T cells, with CD4+ T-cells thought to be important in facilitating the full maturation and development of the CD8+ T-cell response. T. parva has a large proteome, with >4000 protein-coding genes, making T-cell antigen identification using conventional screening approaches laborious and expensive. To date, only a limited number of T-cell antigens have been described. Novel approaches for identifying candidate antigens for T. parva are required to replace and/or complement those currently employed. In this study, we report on the use of immunopeptidomics to study the repertoire of T. parva peptides presented by both BoLA-I and BoLA-DR molecules on infected cells. The study reports on peptides identified from the analysis of 13 BoLA-I and 6 BoLA-DR datasets covering a range of different BoLA genotypes. This represents the most comprehensive immunopeptidomic dataset available for any eukaryotic pathogen to date. Examination of the immunopeptidome data suggested the presence of a large number of coprecipitated and non-MHC-binding peptides. As part of the work, a pipeline to curate the datasets to remove these peptides was developed and used to generate a final list of 74 BoLA-I and 15 BoLA-DR-presented peptides. Together, the data demonstrated the utility of immunopeptidomics as a method to identify novel T-cell antigens for T. parva and the importance of careful curation and the application of high-quality immunoinformatics to parse the data generated.

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Journal article



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The Roslin Institute, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Science, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH25 9RG, UK.