MHC multimers

T cells play an important role in initiating and executing immunity against viruses, donor (organ) cells or malignant cells.


Protein antigens derived from viruses, donor (organ) cells or a tumour are presented to the T cell receptor cells as 9 to 20 amino-acid long peptides via human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules.

CD8+ T cells recognize these HLA-class I/peptide complexes with their T cell receptor (TCR) and upon interaction the CD8+ T cells will be activated to divide and produce proteins that destroy the presenting cells.

The principle of immune recognition via HLA/TCR interactions can be used to produce HLA-molecule based reagents to detect antigen-specific T cells directed against a specific peptide epitope.


MHC multimers have revolutionised immunological research, as they are the first reagents that identify antigen-specific T cells in FACS analysis.
MHC multimer technology is increasingly recognised as the golden standard for the quantification of specific T cell immune response. This is illustrated by the more than 500 citations of the original publication (Altman et al. Science 1996).

Successful applications

Pelimers, MHC multimers produced by Sanquin Reagents, have been used in a wide array of experimental and clinical settings to detect T cells directed against viral, tumour and transplantation antigens. More recently Pelimers have been used successfully for the isolation of antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells for use in adoptive T cell therapies.

Available from stock or manifacture

Routinely used PeliMers, conjugated to PE or APC, are available from stock. On request we manufacture Pelimers or monomers with the peptides of your choice.
All our custom-made PeliMers from stock are made with in-house synthesised peptides with a purity of >90%. These separate peptides can be ordered together with your order for Pelimers and are delivered lyophilised. Monomers are available on request.
Download the list for the available Pelimers (pdf).
(Pelimers are not available in US, UK, Germany, France and Japan).


Last edited on: 22 October 2015