MHC Class I & II Tetramers

Our MHC Tetramers enable MHC Class I and Class II detection of antigen-specific T cells

T-cell receptors (TCRs) are found on T-cell surfaces.  They recognize and bind to MHC molecule complex bound with specific peptide sequences expressed on the surface of antigen-presenting cells.  These MHC complexes bind with peptides that were formed from cytosolic protein degradation. MHC complexes are divided into Class I and Class II, where CD 8+ T-cells recognize Class I MHC molecules and CD 4+ T-cells recognize Class II MHC molecules. 

MBL International provides high quality MHC Tetramers for targeted detection of specific MHC/peptide complexes.  MHC/peptide monomers are biotinylated and tetramerized with streptavidin to maintain stable binding to multiple TCR, enabling MHC/peptide tetramers to be used as detection tools.  MBL International offers MHC tetramers for various Class I Human, Mouse, Rhesus Macaque, Mauritian Cyno, Chicken and Human-Mouse chimera alleles.  Also offered are various Class II Human and Mouse alleles, as well as CD1d and MR1 tetramers. Phycoerythrin (PE), allophycocyanin (APC), or Brilliant Violet 421 (BV421) fluorophores are available for detection of antigen-specific T cells by flow cytometry or fluorescence microscopy using our MHC multimers.

MHC tetramer technology is based on the ability of MHC-peptide complexes to recognize the antigen-specific T cells at a single cell level. This breakthrough technology enables researchers to precisely measure targeted T-cell responses in infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

*Only human and macaque HLA Class I Tetramers contain the alpha 3 mutation.

Tetramer Staining Protocol and Tips

Download our free Tetramer Staining Guide to learn how to stain human or mouse T cells with MHC Tetramers. Gain some helpful tips and tricks for successful T cell staining. Learn how to set up experiments, analyze results, troubleshooting, and more!

Tetramer Staining Guide

Advantages over competitors

Our MHC tetramers show a higher performance in specificity and target separation when comparing to MHC Multimers

Tetramer vs Multimer
MBLI MHC Tetramer vs MHC Multimer

Comparison with competitors (MHC Class I)

ReactivityOur MHC tetramers show high specificity due to a patented mutation (alanine to valine at position 245) in the MHC class I heavy chain, which reduces undesirable CD8-MHC interaction.No comments regarding reactivity of competitor’s multimers.
QualityOptimized mixing ratio of raw materials dramatically improves tetramer synthesis efficiency and achieves high sensitivity.Competitor’s multimers sometimes show low reproducibility due to difficulties in quality and quantity control of the number of MHC molecules when producing multimers.
StabilityCan be stored at 4°C in refrigerated form for several months and is ready-to-use.Storage stability is equivalent to MBL MHC tetramers.
Custom MHC TetramerAvailability of more than 60 types of MHC alleles.Only 20-30 types of alleles.

Process of MHC Class I Tetramer Synthesis

Detection of Antigen-Specific T Cells by MHC Tetramers

MHC Monomer to Tetramer

Unique α3 mutation to increase detection specificity

MBL Tetramer advantages

Create your own custom MHC tetramers with QuickSwitch™

Create high quality custom human Class I and Class II MHC tetramers and mouse Class I MHC tetramers in your own lab using our unique QuickSwitch™ tetramer kit. Create new specificity tetramers in just a few hours with QuickSwitch™, a proprietary technology where peptides are easily exchanged on MHC tetramers.  Use this kit for screening peptide-MHC affinities, make your own MHC tetramers, and many other applications. Multiple alleles are offered, and new alleles are continuously being added to our QuickSwitch™ kit offerings.

MHC Tetramer Peptide Exchange kit

Allele Frequencies

It is important to know which alleles are most common. Use this database to find the frequency for your allele of interest.

Allele frequency net database (AFND) 2020 update: gold-standard data classification, open access genotype data and new query tools. Gonzalez-Galarza FF, McCabe A, Santos EJ, Jones J, Takeshita LY, Ortega-Rivera ND, Del Cid-Pavon GM, Ramsbottom K, Ghattaoraya GS, Alfirevic A, Middleton D and Jones AR Nucleic Acid Research 2020, 48, D783-8. [Full Text]

Learn about the types of MHC Molecules

Find important tetramer documents below:

Explore our video library of webinars

Download our free webinars which focus on different life science research topics and applications.  All webinars are presented by our scientists at MBL International.