An ontology for major histocompatibility restriction

Randi Vita, James A. Overton, Emily Seymour, John Sidney, Jim Kaufman, Rebecca L. Tallmadge, Shirley Ellis, John Hammond, Geoff W. Butcher, Alessandro Sette, Bjoern Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: MHC molecules are a highly diverse family of proteins that play a key role in cellular immune recognition.Over time, different techniques and terminologies have been developed to identify the specific type(s) of MHC moleculeinvolved in a specific immune recognition context. No consistent nomenclature exists across different vertebrate species.

Purpose: To correctly represent MHC related data in The Immune Epitope Database (IEDB), we built upon a previously established MHC ontology and created an ontology to represent MHC molecules as they relate to immunological experiments.

Description: This ontology models MHC protein chains from 16 species, deals with different approaches used to identify MHC, such as direct sequencing verses serotyping, relates engineered MHC molecules to naturally occurring ones, connects genetic loci, alleles, protein chains and multi-chain proteins, and establishes evidence codes for MHC restriction. Where available, this work is based on existing ontologies from the OBO foundry.

Conclusions: Overall, representing MHC molecules provides a challenging and practically important test casefor ontology building, and could serve as an example of how to integrate other ontology building efforts into web resources.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biomedical Semantics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016


  • major histocompatibility complex
  • ontology
  • MHC
  • immune epitope


Dive into the research topics of 'An ontology for major histocompatibility restriction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this