MHC Allele Nomenclature

Human or animal MHC allele names have a unique number corresponding to up to four sets of digits separated by colons. The length of the allele designation is dependent on the sequence of the allele and that of its nearest relative. All alleles receive at least a four digit name, which corresponds to the first two sets of digits, longer names are only assigned when necessary. See the full explanation at

For epitopemap, you can see in the job submission form that we only use the four digit names e.g. HLA-A*68:02. The binding prediction algorithms are not designed to distinguish on a finer level. The four digit names are usually enough for most purposes.


MHC-I allele (using the IEDB tools):


For MHC-II alleles we use the following format:


Some methods will work if you leave out the colon separator but not all, so it’s best to use the standard naming scheme.