Immunoinformatics and structural analysis for identification of immunodominant epitopes in SARS-CoV-2 as potential vaccine targets

Sumit Mukherjee, Dmitry Tworowski, Rajesh Detroja, Sunanda Biswas Mukherjee, Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


A new coronavirus infection, COVID-19, has recently emerged, and has caused a global pandemic along with an international public health emergency. Currently, no licensed vaccines are available for COVID-19. The identification of immunodominant epitopes for both B-and T-cells that induce protective responses in the host is crucial for effective vaccine design. Computational prediction of potential epitopes might significantly reduce the time required to screen peptide libraries as part of emergent vaccine design. In our present study, we used an extensive immunoinformatics-based approach to predict conserved immunodominant epitopes from the proteome of SARS-CoV-2. Regions from SARS-CoV-2 protein sequences were defined as immunodominant, based on the following three criteria regarding B-and T-cell epitopes: (i) they were both mapped, (ii) they predicted protective antigens, and (iii) they were completely identical to experimentally validated epitopes of SARS-CoV. Further, structural and molecular docking analyses were performed in order to understand the binding interactions of the identified immunodominant epitopes with human major histocompatibility complexes (MHC). Our study provides a set of potential immunodominant epitopes that could enable the generation of both antibody-and cell-mediated immunity. This could contribute to developing peptide vaccine-based adaptive immunotherapy against SARS-CoV-2 infections and prevent future pandemic outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number290
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • HLA
  • Immunodominant epitope
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine target

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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