Stable, soluble T-cell receptor molecules for crystallization and therapeutics

Protein Eng. 2003 Sep;16(9):707-11. doi: 10.1093/protein/gzg087.


Antibody and T-cell receptors (TCRs) are the primary recognition molecules of the adaptive immune system. Antibodies have been extensively characterized and are being developed for a large number of therapeutic applications. This has been possible because of the ability to manufacture stable, soluble, monoclonal antibodies which retain the antigen specificity of B cells. Unlike antibodies, TCRs are not expressed in a soluble form, but are anchored to the T-cell surface by an insoluble trans-membrane domain. Characterization and development of TCRs has been hampered by the lack of suitable methods for producing them as soluble and stable proteins. Here we report the engineering of soluble human TCRs suitable for crystallization studies and potentially for in vivo therapeutic use.

MeSH terms

  • Crystallization
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / chemistry*
  • T-Lymphocytes / chemistry*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell