Combinatorial tetramer staining and mass cytometry analysis facilitate T-cell epitope mapping and characterization

Evan W. Newell, Natalia Sigal, Nitya Nair, Brian A. Kidd, Harry B. Greenberg, Mark M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is currently not possible to predict which epitopes will be recognized by T cells in different individuals. This is a barrier to the thorough analysis and understanding of T-cell responses after vaccination or infection. Here, by combining mass cytometry with combinatorial peptide-MHC tetramer staining, we have developed a method allowing the rapid and simultaneous identification and characterization of T cells specific for many epitopes. We use this to screen up to 109 different peptide-MHC tetramers in a single human blood sample, while still retaining at least 23 labels to analyze other markers of T-cell phenotype and function. Among 77 candidate rotavirus epitopes, we identified six T-cell epitopes restricted to human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*0201 in the blood of healthy individuals. T cells specific for epitopes in the rotavirus VP3 protein displayed a distinct phenotype and were present at high frequencies in intestinal epithelium. This approach should be useful for the comprehensive analysis of T-cell responses to infectious diseases or vaccines. It is currently not possible to predict which epitopes will be recognized by T cells in different individuals. This is a barrier to the thorough analysis and understanding of T-cell responses after vaccination or infection. Here, by combining mass cytometry with combinatorial peptide-MHC tetramer staining, we have developed a method allowing the rapid and simultaneous identification and characterization of T cells specific for many epitopes. We use this to screen up to 109 different peptide-MHC tetramers in a single human blood sample, while still retaining at least 23 labels to analyze other markers of T-cell phenotype and function. Among 77 candidate rotavirus epitopes, we identified six T-cell epitopes restricted to human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*0201 in the blood of healthy individuals. T cells specific for epitopes in the rotavirus VP3 protein displayed a distinct phenotype and were present at high frequencies in intestinal epithelium. This approach should be useful for the comprehensive analysis of T-cell responses to infectious diseases or vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-629
Number of pages7
JournalNature Biotechnology
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

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