Over the past two decades, there has been a great interest in the study of HLA-E-restricted αβ T cells during bacterial and viral infections, including recently SARS-CoV-2 infection. Phenotyping of these specific HLA-E-restricted T cells requires new tools such as tetramers for rapid cell staining or sorting, as well as for the identification of new peptides capable to bind to the HLA-E pocket. To this aim, we have developed an optimal photosensitive peptide to generate stable HLA-E/pUV complexes allowing high-throughput production of new HLA-E/peptide complexes by peptide exchange. We characterized the UV exchange by ELISA and improved the peptide exchange readout using size exclusion chromatography. This novel approach for complex quantification is indeed very important to perform tetramerization of MHC/peptide complexes with the high quality required for detection of specific T cells. Our approach allows the rapid screening of peptides capable of binding to the non-classical human HLA-E allele, paving the way for the development of new therapeutic approaches based on the detection of HLA-E-restricted T cells.
© 2021. The Author(s).