MHC Tetramer

Tetramer Shop has developed a highly stable new form of MHC Tetramers (also termed HLA tetramers). We offer MHC tetramers with a broad choice of colors and fast delivery. Our MHC tetramer technology was recently published in Science Immunology.


>> To order MHC Tetramers from Tetramer Shop press here


MHC Tetramer aplication note Japanese


In addition, we offer Empty Loadable MHC Tetramers, which is an attractive innovative form of MHC Tetramers or HLA tetramers that can be instantly loaded with peptide antigen, essentially representing DIY tetramers or instant tetramers on demand.


Key applications:

  • Conventional MHC tetramer staining – all standard MHC tetramer assay protocols apply
  • Exploring T cell reactivity against neoantigens.
  • Exploring proprietary peptide antigens that you do not wish to disclose.
  • Combinatorial multi-color flow cytometry for multiple T cell specificities

Key benefits – Speed and flexibility

  • Available as off-the-shelf MHC Tetramers > 250 specificities.
  • Worldwide shipping < 24 h from ordering.
  • Available as customer defined – you define the peptide – we synthetize and customize – shipping 3 weeks from ordering.
  • Brighter staining due to proprietary stabilized MHC complex.
  • Freeze compatible formulation. You can aliquot and freeze.
  • Broad range of colors – 19 available – custom colors can be provided.


Empty loadable MHC Tetramers offer unprecedented antigen flexibility in Tetramer assays. No UV cleavage – no exchange. Just add peptide and instantly stain T cell samples.


T cells can be enumerated and characterized by MHC tetramer assays or simply tetramer assays or tetramer staining. Sometimes these assays are also termed MHC multimer assays, which covers staining with conventional tetramers (as can be obtained from for example the NIH Tetramer Core Facility) as well as staining with pentamers from Proimmune and dextramers from Immudex.


The interaction between the T cell and its target cell is defined by the specificity of the T-cell receptor and its recognition of a peptide antigen presented in the context of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC).


Advantage of Empty loadable MHC Tetramers

Our improved tetramer technology offer highly stable tetramers that give brighter T cell staining. However, the truly revolutionizing feature of Empty Loadable Tetramers is that you can instantly DIY your own Tetramers in a matter of minutes simply by adding a specific peptide antigen (See protocol). This is a significant improvement in Tetramer assay flexibility and can decrease your Tetramer expenses considerably. The flexibility of Empty Loadable Tetramers make them ideal for multi-color flow cytometry or combinatorial encoding and staining of multiple T cell specificities in a single sample. Many researchers find this attractive when they are staining for multiple T cell specificities for neoantigens or for proprietary peptide antigens that they do not wish to disclose.

Advantages of tetramer staining assays

Tetramer staining assays (see protocols) allow physical isolation of the cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and further studies of sorted cells. As a flow-cytometry-based application, tetramers staining assays are also easy to use and have a short assay time. Tetramers are available for studying antigen specific immune response in both mouse models and in human.

Use of MHC Tetramer staining in immunotherapeutic development

MHC tetramers provide a previously unfeasible level of precision in staining, detection and isolation of antigen-specific T cells. This allows for several clinical applications such as isolation and ex vivo proliferation of T cells specific to viral or tumor-related antigens. These isolated and subsequently expanded T cell cultures can later be reintroduced to enhance the immune system to target disease.

Recent advances in cancer immunotherapy and vaccine development have been largely dependent on tetramer technologies for epitope detection, monitoring of disease and progression of disease, monitoring of immunotherapeutic effect on disease-specific T cells and the aforementioned isolation, expansion and re-introduction of disease-specific T cells into the patient.


Tetramer Specifications

Tetramer Shop supply MHC Tetramers in various test sizes and the colors PE, BV421, BUV395, APC-Cy™7, APC, BV510, BV480, PE-Cy™5, PE-CF594, PE-Cy™7, PerCP-Cy™5.5, PerCP, FITC, BV605, BV650, BV786, APC-R700, BB515 and BUV737. For other colors, please enquire.