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Immunity. 1996 Aug;5(2):137-46.

Correlation between the number of T cell receptors required for T cell activation and TCR-ligand affinity.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


The number of T cell receptors on CTL clone 2C that are required for recognition of various peptide-MHC or superantigen-MHC ligands were measured as a function of both the ligand density on target cells and the binding affinity of the TCR. Quantitative inverse correlations were determined between the number of TCRs required for recognition and the number of ligands on target cells, and the number of TCR required and the Ka of the TCR for the ligand. We propose and test predictive uses of these relationships to determine the number of endogenous peptide-MHC complexes on a target cell (when TCR affinity is known) or to determine the affinity of the TCR (when the number of ligands is known).

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