The IEDB captures the MHC restriction of an epitope when it is either stated by the authors or demonstrated in the manuscript being curated. In addition, the context in which an experiment is performed is also described. For example, if the effector T cells are CD8+, this context will be described as MHC Class I. The breadth of MHC restriction data contained in the IEDB spans the 14 species currently having published epitope related data and, among other species, including humans, primates, rodents, cattle, horses, pigs, and chickens.
When performing a search, it is possible to easily narrow the results to include only those relevant to MHC Class I, MHC Class II, or Non Classical MHC on the Home Page. In addition, on the Results pages, a free text box allows one to enter any MHC allele name. Autocomplete functionality will attempt to match the entered text with MHC alleles having data present in the IEDB. Due to the complex nature of MHC nomenclature, we also provide the Allele finder which allows one to retrieve data only for a given serotype, haplotype, or locus, or to further specify an individual MHC allele, using standardized nomenclature.
The MHC Allele Finder facilitates the selection of one or more MHC alleles.The Allele Finder presents MHC molecules in a hierarchical tree format. The Allele Finder can be found on the results page and also the Specialized Search pages. The Allele Finder may be browsed by clicking open any node of the tree or may be searched by utilizing drop down menus to select from the organisms having MHC data or by Class. One can also type a name or synonym for a specific MHC molecule, serotype, or haplotype. Browsing the tree allows users to select parent nodes of sets of MHC molecules sharing the same loci, serotype, or haplotype. As shown below, once a search has been performed, such as for "DR", the Allele Finder returns those alleles with "DR" in their name. In this case, 170 records were returned. Icons present in the Search Results allow one to select any allele by clicking the "plus sign" or to view any allele in the context of the hierarchical tree by clicking on the "Highlight" icon. Users may also click on any node of the tree to select that node as a search criteria. Once all desired alleles have been selected, users must click "Apply" to add these search parameters to their larger query of the IEDB data. Clicking "Apply" will close the Allele Finder and return the user back to the larger search interface, consisting of many other fields and Finders.