Article open access publication

Saporin-conjugated tetramers identify efficacious anti-HIV CD8+ T-cell specificities

PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science (PLoS), ISSN 1932-6203

Volume 12, 10, 2017

DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0184496, Dimensions: pub.1092174095, PMC: PMC5636067, PMID: 29020090,



  1. (1) University of Oxford, grid.4991.5
  2. (2) Harvard University, grid.38142.3c
  3. (3) Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, grid.461656.6
  4. (4) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  5. (5) Royal Berkshire Hospital, grid.416094.e
  6. (6) Integrated Sexual Health Services, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Northampton, United Kingdom
  7. (7) University of Zurich, grid.7400.3
  8. (8) NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  9. (9) Institut Pasteur, grid.428999.7
  10. (10) University of KwaZulu-Natal, grid.16463.36
  11. (11) North Carolina State University, grid.40803.3f
  12. (12) Heinrich-Pette-Institute, grid.418481.0
  13. (13) John Radcliffe Hospital, grid.8348.7


Antigen-specific T-cells are highly variable, spanning potent antiviral efficacy and damaging auto-reactivity. In virus infections, identifying the most efficacious responses is critical to vaccine design. However, current methods depend on indirect measures or on ex vivo expanded CTL clones. We here describe a novel application of cytotoxic saporin-conjugated tetramers to kill antigen-specific T-cells without significant off-target effects. The relative efficacy of distinct antiviral CD8+ T-cell specificity can be directly assessed via antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell depletion. The utility of these reagents is demonstrated here in identifying the CD8+ T-cell specificity most effective in preventing HIV progression in HIV-infected HLA-B*27-positive immune controllers.


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