Insights into T cell recognition of antigen: significance of two-dimensional kinetic parameters

Author: Lindsay J. Edwards

Date: 4/20/2012

Journal:Frontiers in Immunology


DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00086.



The T cell receptor (TCR) interacts with peptide-major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) to enable T cell development and trigger adaptive immune responses. For this reason, TCR:pMHC interactions have been intensely studied for over two decades. However, the details of how various binding parameters impact T cell activation remain elusive. Most measurements were made using recombinant proteins by surface plasmon resonance, a three-dimensional (3D) technique in which fluid-phase receptors and ligands are removed from their cellular environment. This approach found TCR:pMHC interactions with relatively low affinities and slow off-rates for agonist peptides. Newer generation techniques have analyzed TCR:pMHC interactions in two dimensions (2D), with both proteins anchored in apposing plasma membranes. These approaches reveal in situ TCR:pMHC interaction kinetics that are of high affinity and exhibit rapid on- and off-rates upon interaction with agonist ligands. Importantly, 2D binding parameters correlate better with T cell functional responses to a spectrum of ligands than 3D measures.