Simultaneous detection of many T-cell specificities using combinatorial tetramer staining

Nat Methods. 2009 Jul;6(7):497-9. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1344. Epub 2009 Jun 21.


The direct detection of antigen-specific T cells using tetramers of soluble peptide-major histocompatibilty complex (pMHC) molecules is widely used in both basic and clinical immunology. However, the number of specificities that can be assessed simultaneously has been a major limitation. Here we describe and validate a method using combinations of fluorescent pMHC tetramers to simultaneously detect and enrich for many (>or=15) T-cell specificities in a single human blood sample.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Separation
  • Epitopes
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • HLA-A Antigens / chemistry
  • HLA-A2 Antigen
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Techniques* / statistics & numerical data
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / classification
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • HLA-A Antigens
  • HLA-A*02:01 antigen
  • HLA-A2 Antigen
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta