Cytokine patterns of virus-specific T cells
Cytotoxic CD8(+) T lymphocytes directly kill infected or aberrant cells and secrete proinflammatory cytokines. By using metal-labeled probes and mass spectrometric analysis (cytometry by time-of-flight, or CyTOF) of human CD8(+) T cells, we analyzed the expression of many more proteins than previously possible with fluorescent labels, including surface markers, cytokines, and antigen specificity with modified peptide-MHC tetramers. With 3-dimensional principal component analysis (3D-PCA) to display phenotypic diversity, we observed a relatively uniform pattern of variation in all subjects tested, highlighting the interrelatedness of previously described subsets and the continuous nature of CD8(+) T cell differentiation. These data also showed much greater complexity in the CD8(+) T cell compartment than previously appreciated, including a nearly combinatorial pattern of cytokine expression, with distinct niches occupied by virus-specific cells. This large degree of functional diversity even between cells with the same specificity gives CD8(+) T cells a remarkable degree of flexibility in responding to pathogens.
Interrogating the repertoire: broadening the scope of peptide-MHC multimer analysis.
Labelling antigen-specific T cells with peptide-MHC multimers has provided an invaluable way to monitor T cell-mediated immune responses. A number of recent developments in this technology have made these multimers much easier to make and use in large numbers. Furthermore, enrichment techniques have provided a greatly increased sensitivity that allows the analysis of the naive T cell repertoire directly. Thus, we can expect a flood of new information to emerge in the coming years.
Simultaneous detection of many T-cell specificities using combinatorial tetramer staining.
The direct detection of antigen-specific T cells using tetramers of soluble peptide-major histocompatibilty complex (pMHC) molecules is widely used in both basic and clinical immunology. However, the number of specificities that can be assessed simultaneously has been a major limitation. Here we describe and validate a method using combinations of fluorescent pMHC tetramers to simultaneously detect large numbers (≥ 15) of T cell specificities in a single human blood sample.