There are several methods to identify target antigens, including the specific epitopes recognized by the humoral immune response. However, determining the antigens that are recognized by cellular immune responses is much more difficult, because it requires an activated T cell bound to an antigen presenting cell (APC) and both a correct peptide from the antigen relevant for the bound T cell and an HLA molecule matching the T cell must be displayed. Classifying antigens is important in many applications including developing targeted diagnostics and vaccines and understanding the etiology of specific diseases, and presently there is no easy and unbiased way to do this.
Researchers at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University have developed a method to determine which antigens are recognized by a population of activated T cells. A population of T cells are mixed with special cellular array processes. After the T cells are activated, the cell array is read to determine which proteins were recognized by the T cells. The result is a list of antigens recognized by the T cell population. These methods are both high-throughput and scalable.
This method is the first to show unbiased determination of which antigens are recognized by a population of T cells and will have numerous potential commercial opportunities in both the research and clinical markets.
• Determining signatures for cellular immunity
• Clinical testing of an individual’s immune history
o Pathogen exposure, self-antigens, stratification based on responses to particular antigens
• Mapping patients own T cell response repertoire
• Determining which antigens cause autoimmune disorders
o Diabetes, RA, IBD, lupus, etc.
• Determining self-antigens that may play a role in tumor clearance under normal or immune therapy conditions
Benefits and Advantages
• Uses approaches that could be applied to any individual’s own T cells
• Allows for the identification of cytotoxic T cells as opposed to merely cell activation
• High-throughput & scalable