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Protein-Scaffold Directed Nanoscale Assembly of T Cell Ligands: Artificial Antigen Presentation with Defined Valency, Density, and Ratio

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journal contribution
posted on 07.05.2018, 00:00 by Mason R. Smith, Stephanie V. Tolbert, Fei Wen
Tuning antigen presentation to T cells is a critical step in investigating key aspects of T cell activation. However, existing technologies have a limited ability to control the spatial and stoichiometric organization of T cell ligands on 3D surfaces. Here, we developed an artificial antigen presentation platform based on protein scaffold-directed assembly that allows fine control over the spatial and stoichiometric organization of T cell ligands on a 3D yeast cell surface. Using this system, we observed that the T cell activation threshold on a 3D surface is independent of peptide-major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) valency but instead is determined by the overall pMHC surface density. When intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) was coassembled with pMHC, it enhanced antigen recognition sensitivity by 6-fold. Further, T cells responded with different magnitudes to varying ratios of pMHC and ICAM-1 and exhibited a maximum response at a ratio of 15% pMHC and 85% ICAM-1, introducing an additional parameter for tuning T cell activation. This protein scaffold-directed assembly technology is readily transferrable to acellular surfaces for translational research as well as large-scale T-cell manufacturing.