Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 960, 2013, pp 309-326
Date: 29 Oct 2012

Tracking Antigen-Specific CD8+ T Cells Using MHC Class I Multimers

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Abstract

The tracking of epitope-specific T cells is a useful approach for the study of adaptive immune responses. This protocol describes how Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I (MHC-I) multimers can be used to stain, enrich, and enumerate (rare) populations of CD8+ T cells specific for a given antigen. It provides the detailed steps for multimer labeling, magnetic enrichment, and cytometric analysis. Additionally, it provides informations for multiplexing experiments in order to achieve simultaneous detection of multiple antigenic specificities, and strategies for coupling the protocol with functional assays (e.g., intracellular cytokine staining). Future developments in cytometric systems (e.g., mass spectroscopy-based cytometry) and gene expression studies (e.g., single cell PCR) will extend these approaches and provide an unprecedented assessment of the immune repertoire.