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A St. Jude Tetramer Core Facility has been established through the St Jude Children's Research Hospital and The Assisi Foundation to provide the St. Jude community with custom synthesis and production of soluble tetramer staining reagents for identifying antigen-specific MHCI/peptide CD8 T cells. MHC tetramers provide a tool for measurement of a scalar quantity, the frequency of an antigen-specific T cell population. MHC tetramers are reagents used for direct ex vivo analysis of the frequency and phenotypes of antigen-specific T cells by flow cytometry. The tetramer staining assay is purely physical-relying only upon the interaction between the tetramer reagent and T cell receptor clusters (and possibly co-receptors) on the surface of T cells and reduces to an absolute minimum the in vitro manipulation of the sample before detection of the antigen-specific population. The assay could provide the most complete method for detection of the magnitude of an antigen-specific response. This resource serves both the studies in viral immunity and tumor immunology at St. Jude. In the future, MHC II/peptide reagents should become available for the staining of antigen-specific CD4 T cells. Tetramer reagents are synthesized at the Tetramer Core Facility located in the Department of Immunology.
Overall supervision is handled by the Department of Immunology. Inquiries regarding the Tetramer Core Facility should be directed to Scott Brown, PhD.