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J Immunol Methods. 2010 Apr 15;355(1-2):86-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2010.01.013. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

A simple method to detect Toxoplasma gondii-specific cytotoxic T cells in vivo.

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Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2040 Babcock Road, Suite 201, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


Cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) are an important component of adaptive immunity. The study of antigen-specific CTLs in vivo is desirable yet difficult. Identification of the class I-restricted peptide used by CTLs for target recognition is often required for detailed studies, but is generally not known for most antigens. Toxoplasma gondii is a medically important, obligate intracellular parasite and is often used as a model for studies of parasite immunology. No class I-restricted peptides for CTLs are known. We show here a new and convenient method to detect T. gondii-specific CTLs in vivo. We engineered T. gondii tachyzoites to express the model antigen ovalbumin, for which many useful reagents and transgenic mice are available. Using ovalbumin-transgenic T. gondii tachyzoites, antigen-specific CTLs were detected in vivo, and at much earlier time points post-infection than previously reported. This new method has several additional advantages over current methods to detect T. gondii-specific CTLs.

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