Quantifying viable virus-specific T cells without a priori knowledge of fine epitope specificity

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31 Scopus citations


Identification of pathogen-specific T cells has been greatly facilitated by the advent of synthetic peptide-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) tetramers. In many cases, however, specific epitopes have not been defined, necessitating detection methods that function independently of exact peptide-MHC specificity. Lymphocytes acquire surface proteins from antigen-presenting cells (APCs), and we have exploited this phenomenon to develop the T-cell recognition of APCs by protein transfer (TRAP) assay. This method is based on biotinylation and streptavidin-fluorochrome labeling of APCs, followed by subsequent acquisition of this label by antigen-specific T cells. The TRAP procedure detects MHC class I-restricted T cells regardless of their cytokine profiles or peptide-MHC affinities, and provides a versatile tool for monitoring the phenomenon of APC membrane acquisition by antigen-specific T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1212
Number of pages5
JournalNature medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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