Skip to main content


Log in

An overview of immunoinformatics approaches and databases linking T cell receptor repertoires to their antigen specificity

  • Review
  • Published:
Immunogenetics Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Recent advances in molecular and bioinformatic methods have greatly improved our ability to study the formation of an adaptive immune response towards foreign pathogens, self-antigens, and cancer neoantigens. T cell receptors (TCR) are the key players in this process that recognize peptides presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Owing to the huge diversity of both TCR sequence variants and peptides they recognize, accumulation and complex analysis of large amounts of TCR-antigen specificity data is required for understanding the structure and features of adaptive immune responses towards pathogens, vaccines, cancer, as well as autoimmune responses. In the present review, we summarize recent efforts on gathering and interpreting TCR-antigen specificity data and outline the critical role of tighter integration with other immunoinformatics data sources that include epitope MHC restriction, TCR repertoire structure models, and TCR/peptide/MHC structural data. We suggest that such integration can lead to the ability to accurately annotate individual TCR repertoires, efficiently estimate epitope and neoantigen immunogenicity, and ultimately, in silico identify TCRs specific to yet unstudied antigens and predict self-peptides related to autoimmunity.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


We would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions and comments.


This work was supported by RFBR grant No 19-34-70011.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mikhail Shugay.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on “Nomenclature, databases and bioinformatics in Immunogenetics

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zvyagin, I.V., Tsvetkov, V.O., Chudakov, D.M. et al. An overview of immunoinformatics approaches and databases linking T cell receptor repertoires to their antigen specificity. Immunogenetics 72, 77–84 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: