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  • Comparison of peptide-major histocompatibility complex tetramers and dextramers for the identification of antigen-specific T cells.

Comparison of peptide-major histocompatibility complex tetramers and dextramers for the identification of antigen-specific T cells.

Clinical and experimental immunology (2014-03-29)
G Dolton, A Lissina, A Skowera, K Ladell, K Tungatt, E Jones, D Kronenberg-Versteeg, H Akpovwa, J M Pentier, C J Holland, A J Godkin, D K Cole, M A Neller, J J Miles, D A Price, M Peakman, A K Sewell
ABSTRACT

Fluorochrome-conjugated peptide-major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) multimers are widely used for flow cytometric visualization of antigen-specific T cells. The most common multimers, streptavidin-biotin-based 'tetramers', can be manufactured readily in the laboratory. Unfortunately, there are large differences between the threshold of T cell receptor (TCR) affinity required to capture pMHC tetramers from solution and that which is required for T cell activation. This disparity means that tetramers sometimes fail to stain antigen-specific T cells within a sample, an issue that is particularly problematic when staining tumour-specific, autoimmune or MHC class II-restricted T cells, which often display TCRs of low affinity for pMHC. Here, we compared optimized staining with tetramers and dextramers (dextran-based multimers), with the latter carrying greater numbers of both pMHC and fluorochrome per molecule. Most notably, we find that: (i) dextramers stain more brightly than tetramers; (ii) dextramers outperform tetramers when TCR-pMHC affinity is low; (iii) dextramers outperform tetramers with pMHC class II reagents where there is an absence of co-receptor stabilization; and (iv) dextramer sensitivity is enhanced further by specific protein kinase inhibition. Dextramers are compatible with current state-of-the-art flow cytometry platforms and will probably find particular utility in the fields of autoimmunity and cancer immunology.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

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