Binders Keepers

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.