The Connection Between Minor H Antigens and Neoantigens and the Missing Link in Their Prediction

Tuna Mutis*, Anastasia Xagara, Robbert M. Spaapen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


For hundreds of thousands of years, the human genome has extensively evolved, resulting in genetic variations in almost every gene. Immunological reflections of these genetic variations become clearly visible after an allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) as minor Histocompatibility (H) antigens. Minor H antigens are peptides cleaved from genetically encoded variable protein regions after which they are presented at the cell surface by HLA molecules. After allo-SCT with minor H antigen mismatches between donor and recipient, donor T cells recognize the minor H antigens of the recipient as foreign, evoking strong alloreactive immune responses. Studies in the late eighties have discovered that a subset of minor H antigens are encoded by hematopoietic system-specific genes. After allo-SCT, this subset is strictly expressed on the hematopoietic malignant cells and was therefore the first well-defined highly immunogenic group of tumor-specific antigens. In the last decade, neoantigens derived from genetic mutations in tumors have been identified as another group of immunogenic tumor-specific antigens. Therefore, hematopoietic minor H antigens and neoantigens are therapeutic equivalents. This review will connect our current knowledge about the immune biology and identification of minor H antigens and neoantigens leading to novel conclusions on their prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1162
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2020

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