Dynamic quantification of MHC class I-peptide presentation to CD8+ T cells via intracellular cytokine staining

J Immunol Methods. 2006 Apr 20;311(1-2):12-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2006.01.008. Epub 2006 Feb 20.


In order to further our basic understanding of antigen processing and presentation as well as to translate that knowledge into clinically effective vaccines and immunotherapies, having appropriate tools to study MHC class I-peptide presentation is highly desirable. Current methods are based upon HPLC fractionation of extracted peptides, monoclonal Ab, multivalent T cell receptors (TCR), T cell hybridomas, TCR transgenic cells, and T cell lines. However, each of these is associated with problems that make them either difficult to apply generally or too insensitive to adequately quantitate antigen presentation. We have developed a method based upon intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) that dynamically and relatively quantitates MHC class I-peptide presentation to CD8+ T cells in a manner that is both widely applicable and highly sensitive. It is well-suited to assess antigen presentation in its early stages, does not require fixation nor labeling of antigen presenting cells (APC), can be used to examine cross-presentation, and is able to directly employ ex vivo T cells which obviates the need for the development and maintenance of T cell lines and hybridomas. Our method represents a simple yet powerful tool that others interested in studying antigen processing and presentation should find of great practical value.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • Brefeldin A / chemistry
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Coloring Agents / chemistry
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Cytokines / isolation & purification
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology*
  • Influenza A virus / immunology
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology


  • Coloring Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Brefeldin A
  • Ovalbumin