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Peptide-MHC monomers and tetramers

Since the mid-1990’s MHC tetramer technology has revolutionized T cell immunology and helped researchers to better understand T cell responses. More recently has MHC tetramers been used to study COVID-19 responses and is now an invaluable tool for developing of new cancer therapies.

T cells respond to peptides presented by the MHC molecules. At the cellular level, each T cell recognize a unique peptide MHC (pMHC) combination where CD8+ and CD4+ T cell subsets are restricted to MHC class I and class II, respectively. The interaction between the peptide-MHC (pMHC) complex and a cognate TcR is short lived and of low affinity.

By way of multimerization of four peptide-MHC molecules on a streaptavidin scaffold, tetramers increase the avidity of the pMHC:TcR interaction by engaging several of the TcRs expressed on a specific T cell thereby stabilizing the interaction. This allows for direct and specific staining of the T cells. pMHC tetramers provide a simple, fast and efficient approach for monitoring and handling specific T cells. Peptide-MHC tetramers can be used to identify specific T cells without further in vitro manipulation, and they allow for a simultaneous evaluation of the differentiation state through co-staining for various phenotypic markers. In addition, peptide-MHC monomers and tetramers can be used to purify and manipulate the specific T cells.

Our MHC molecules (HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, and HLA-DR) are biotinylated; hence all our pMHC monomers can be tetramerize through the biotin-streptavidin interaction. Available formulations: The peptide-MHC complexes are available as monomers (biotinylated) or tetramers.

Monomers have a longer shelf life and a higher flexibility with respect to your staining scheme i.e you can make your own tetramers with the streptavidin label(s) of your choice, (including metal labels for CyTOF analysis).

Tetramers are available with Phycoerythrin (PE), allophycocyanin (APC) and Brilliant Violet™ (BV) fluorochromes.

immunAware offers

Catalog peptide-Class I and peptide-Class II complexes covering a substantial range of known HLA class I and HLA-DR restricted T cell epitopes. These have a delivery time of 1-2 weeks.

Custom peptide MHC class I and II complexes using a peptide of your choice. Discover our MHC class I molecules and MHC class II molecules. To assist your design of custom peptide-MHC class I and II complexes, we recommend that you use predictors (e.g. one from the NetMHC series).

easYmers® peptide receptive (“empty”) MHC class I monomeric molecules that allows you to make your own custom mono- or tetramers from day to day in your own lab. 50+ different HLA class I allotypes are available; the monomers are biotinylated which makes it easy to assemble tetramers with a maximum flexibility for choosing your preferred flow-color. See our line of easYmer® or read more about them here.