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MBL MHC Tetramers

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TCRs recognize and bind to complexes composed of MHC molecules and specific peptides expressed on the surface of antigen-presenting cells. While it was believed that that antigen-specific T cells could be detected using soluble MHC/ peptide complexes, monomeric MHC/peptide complexes proved to be impractical due to their instability and low affinity to the TCR.

To overcome this difficulty, MHC/ peptide monomers are biotinylated and tetramerized with streptavidin to maintain stable binding to multiple TCR, enabling MHC/peptide Tetramers to be used as detection tools.

MHC Tetramers are labeled with fluorescent molecules including phycoerythrin (PE) or allophycocyanin (APC) and thus allow detection of antigenspecific T cells by flow cytometry or fluorescence microscopy.