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Comprehensive antigenic characterization of a T cell population of unknown specificity is challenging. Existing MHC class I expression systems are limited by the practical difficulty of probing cell populations with an MHC class I peptide library and the cross-reactivity of T cells that are able to recognise many variants of an index peptide. Using emulsion PCR and emulsion in vitro transcription/translation of a random library of peptides conjugated to CD8-null HLA-A*0201 on beads, we probed HLA-A*0201-restricted T cells with specificity for influenza, CMV and EBV. We observed significant enrichment for sequences containing HLA-A2 anchors and correct viral fragments for all T cell populations. HLA bead display provides a novel approach to identify the specificity of T cells.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol Methods

Publication Date





72 - 78


Bead display, HLA library, T cells, Antigens, Viral, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Combinatorial Chemistry Techniques, Cytomegalovirus, HLA Antigens, Herpesvirus 4, Human, High-Throughput Screening Assays, Humans, Orthomyxoviridae, Peptide Fragments, Peptide Library, Phosphoproteins, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Trans-Activators, Viral Matrix Proteins