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The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Binders Keepers

illustration of peptide binding on the surface of yeast

The Birnbaum Lab has developed a new platform that may help researchers better understand and predict how the immune system recognizes pathogens and cancerous cells. Described in Nature Communications, the platform identifies peptides able to bind class II major histocompatibility complexes (MHC-II), molecules that present protein fragments on cell surfaces. If CD4+ helper T cells recognize these complexes, they activate the immune response. The yeast-display-based approach has identified more unique MHC-II binders than comparable approaches, paving the way for improved accuracy of MHC-II binding prediction algorithms. The technology can be used to guide future selection of targets for CD4+ T cell recognition in cancer and beyond.