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MHC Tetramer Reagents

MHC (major histocompatibility complex) is a common designation for genes encoding proteins involved in the distinction between the self and non-self. It is deeply involved in immune responses such as the elimination of pathogen-infected and cancer cells and the rejection of transplanted organs. On the basis of the differences in structure of MHC molecules, they are designated as class I and II molecules. Class I molecules are expressed by platelets and most cells, whereas class II molecules are expressed by antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells and macrophages. Along with the MHC, T cells play important roles in many immune responses occurring in our body. T cells bind to MHC/antigenic peptide complexes. T cells acquire information regarding the antigenic peptides and exhibit various functions. In other words, the mechanisms of immune responses can be elucidated if antigenic peptide-specific T cells are analyzed. Tetramer reagents are reagents in which the MHC/peptide complexes are labeled with a fluorescent substance and tetramerized. A technology based on the use of tetramer reagents and flow cytometry has been developed, which allows the specific and quantitative measurement of T cells that exclusively recognize the antigenic peptide. Monitoring of antigen-specific T-cell immune responses is thought to be the most important and relevant outcome of anti-tumor or anti-viral responses during the development of vaccines and therapies. MBL is a unique company that develops and manufactures tetramer reagents compatible with class I and class II MHC molecules as new immunological research tools.

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