Tracking T cells with tetramers: new tales from new tools

Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Apr;2(4):263-72. doi: 10.1038/nri777.


To understand the success or failure of immune responses against pathogens or tumours requires the direct measurement of specific lymphocytes. Recently, there has been an explosion of data in this field through the use of several new tools for measuring the number and function of T cells. This has allowed immunologists who study human disease and mouse models of infection and cancer to readily track specific T cells--in both time and space. Although there are common patterns, over time, each host-pathogen relationship seems to develop unique characteristics, as reflected in the quality of the T-cell response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • Streptavidin
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / immunology


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • Streptavidin