Amino-terminal extended peptide single-chain trimers are potent synthetic agonists for memory human CD8 + T cells

Beatriz M. Carreno, Michelle Becker-Hapak, Megan Chan, Wen Rong Lie, Xiaoli Wang, Ted H. Hansen, Gerald P. Linette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Upon Ag exposure, most memory T cells undergo restimulation-induced cell death. In this article, we describe a novel synthetic agonist, an N-terminal extended decamer peptide expressed as a single-chain trimer, the amino-terminal extended peptide MHC class I single-chain trimer (AT-SCT), which preferentially promotes the growth of memory human CD8 + T cells with minimal restimulation-induced cell death. Using CMV pp65 and melanoma gp100 Ags, we observe the in vitro numerical expansion of a clonally diverse polyfunctional population of Ag-specific CD8 + T cells from healthy individuals and vaccinated melanoma patients, respectively. Memory CD8 + T cells stimulated with AT-SCT presented on MHC class I/II-null cells show reduced cytokine production, slower kinetics of TCR downregulation, and decreased cell death compared with native nonamer MHC class I single-chain trimer (SCT)-activated T cells. However, both ERK phosphorylation and cell cycle kinetics are identical in AT-SCT- and SCT-activated T cells. Probing of SCT and AT-SCT peptide-MHC complexes using fluorochrome-conjugated TCR multimers suggests that nonamer- and decamer-linked peptides may be anchored differently to the HLA-A2 peptide-binding groove. Our findings demonstrate that modified peptide-MHC structures, such as AT-SCT, can be engineered as T cell agonists to promote the growth and expansion of memory human CD8 + T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5839-5849
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012


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