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Nat Med. 2006 Feb;12(2):246-51. Epub 2006 Feb 5.

Design and use of conditional MHC class I ligands.

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Division of Immunology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules associate with a variety of peptide ligands during biosynthesis and present these ligands on the cell surface for recognition by cytotoxic T cells. We have designed conditional MHC ligands that form stable complexes with MHC molecules but degrade on command, by exposure to a defined photostimulus. 'Empty MHC molecules' generated in this manner can be loaded with arrays of peptide ligands to determine MHC binding properties and to monitor antigen-specific T-cell responses in a high-throughput manner. We document the value of this approach by identifying cytotoxic T-cell epitopes within the H5N1 influenza A/Vietnam/1194/04 genome.

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