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The affinity of T-cell receptors (TCRs) for major histocompatibility complex molecules (MHCs) presenting cognate antigens likely determines whether T cells initiate immune responses, or not. There exist few measurements of two-dimensional (2D) TCR-MHC interactions, and the effect of auxiliary proteins on binding is unexplored. Here, Jurkat T-cells expressing the MHC molecule HLA-DQ8-glia-α1 and the ligand of an adhesion protein (rat CD2) were allowed to bind supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) presenting fluorescently-labelled L3-12 TCR and rat CD2, allowing measurements of binding unconfounded by cell signaling effects or co-receptor binding. The 2D Kd for L3-12 TCR binding to HLA-DQ8-glia-α1, 14±5 molecules/μm2, was only marginally influenced by including CD2 up to ∼200 bound molecules/μm2 but higher CD2 densities reduced the affinity up to 1.9-fold. Cell-SLB contact size increased steadily with ligand density without affecting binding for contacts up to ∼20% of total cell area but beyond this lamellipodia appeared, giving an apparent increase in bound receptors of up to 50%. Our findings show how parameters other than the specific protein-protein interaction can influence binding behavior at cell-cell contacts.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Cell Science


The Company of Biologists

Publication Date