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<jats:p>The T cell receptor (TCR)–peptide-MHC (pMHC) interaction is the only antigen-specific interaction during T lymphocyte activation. Recent work suggests that formation of catch bonds is characteristic of activating TCR–pMHC interactions. However, whether this binding behavior is an intrinsic feature of the molecular bond, or a consequence of more complex multimolecular or cellular responses, remains unclear. We used a laminar flow chamber to measure, first, 2D TCR–pMHC dissociation kinetics of peptides of various activating potency in a cell-free system in the force range (6 to 15 pN) previously associated with catch–slip transitions and, second, 2D TCR–pMHC association kinetics, for which the method is well suited. We did not observe catch bonds in dissociation, and the off-rate measured in the 6- to 15-pN range correlated well with activation potency, suggesting that formation of catch bonds is not an intrinsic feature of the TCR–pMHC interaction. The association kinetics were better explained by a model with a minimal encounter duration rather than a standard on-rate constant, suggesting that membrane fluidity and dynamics may strongly influence bond formation.</jats:p>

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date



201902141 - 201902141