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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: Nature Communications.

Volume 7, 27 October 2016, Article number 13264.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13264

Copyright © 2016, The Author(s) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit


It is generally accepted that enumeration and characterization of antigen-specific T cells provide essential information about potency of the immune response. Here, we report a new technique to determine the frequency and potency of antigen-specific CD8 T cells. The assay measures changes of intracellular Ca(2+) in real time by fluorescent microscopy in individual CD8 T cells responding to cognate peptides. The T cells form continuous monolayer, enabling the cells to present the peptides to each other. This approach allows us to evaluate the kinetics of intracellular Ca(2+) signalling that characterizes the quality of T cell response. We demonstrate the usefulness of the assay examining the frequency and quality of cytomegalovirus-specific CD8 T cells from healthy donor and patient after haploidentical stem cell transplantation. The new assay has a potential to provide essential information determining the status of the immune system, disease morbidity, potency of therapeutic intervention and vaccine efficacy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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