The role of mass spectrometry in vaccine development

Gregory A. Poland, Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Kenneth L. Johnson, Stephen Naylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


For the most part, vaccine development to date has been empiric. While sometimes successful, such a strategy is 'hit or miss', and fails to advance the basic science of vaccine development. Preferable would be tools that allow for a more directed development of vaccines at either the population or sub-population level. Characteristics of useful tools in vaccine development should include the ability to identify and characterize the spectrum of antigenic peptides presented by MHC molecules to which the immune system responds by the development of protective immune responses. In addition, because the explosion in human genomics allows the ability to understand MHC haplotypes at the population level, as well as an enhanced understanding of MHC binding motifs, new tools might further allow for an understanding of which vaccine antigens are capable of being bound and presented to the immune system by MHC molecules. New mass spectrometry technology fulfils these criteria, and may well lead to a revolution in the design of new vaccines. This paper will review the basics of mass spectrometry techniques as applied to the identification and characterization of vaccine peptide antigens, and discusses how these tools can be applied to vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2692-2700
Number of pages9
Issue number17-19
StatePublished - Mar 21 2001


  • HLA
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Vaccine development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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