T cell antigen discovery via signaling and antigen-presenting bifunctional receptors

Nat Methods. 2019 Feb;16(2):191-198. doi: 10.1038/s41592-018-0304-8. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


CD8+ T cells recognize and eliminate tumors in an antigen-specific manner. Despite progress in characterizing the antitumor T cell repertoire and function, the identification of target antigens remains a challenge. Here we describe the use of chimeric receptors called signaling and antigen-presenting bifunctional receptors (SABRs) in a cell-based platform for T cell receptor (TCR) antigen discovery. SABRs present an extracellular complex comprising a peptide and major histocompatibility complex (MHC), and induce intracellular signaling via a TCR-like signal after binding with a cognate TCR. We devised a strategy for antigen discovery using SABR libraries to screen thousands of antigenic epitopes. We validated this platform by identifying the targets recognized by public TCRs of known specificities. Moreover, we extended this approach for personalized neoantigen discovery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation*
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / cytology
  • Antigens / chemistry
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Gene Library
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Jurkat Cells
  • K562 Cells
  • Lectins, C-Type / metabolism
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Oligonucleotides / genetics
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Antigens
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • CD69 antigen
  • Epitopes
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins