Promega's Cookie Policy

We use cookies and similar technologies to make our website work, run analytics, improve our website, and show you personalized content and advertising. Some of these cookies are essential for our website to work. For others, we won’t set them unless you accept them. To find out more about cookies and how to manage cookies, read our Cookie Policy.

T Cell Activation Bioassays

Novel biologics formats, including bispecific antibodies and CAR-T cell therapies, require robust, reproducible measurement of T cell activation. Our ICH-prequalified bioassays enable simple, scalable solutions for drug screening and development.

These assays consist of a genetically engineered T cell line that expresses a luciferase reporter driven by either an NFAT response element or an IL-2 promoter. When engaged with either an anti-TCR/CD3 stimulus alone or an anti-TCR/CD3 and an anti-CD28 stimulus, receptor-mediated signaling induces luminescence.

Filter By

T Cell Activation Bioassays

Shop all T Cell Activation Bioassays

Showing 3 of 3 Products

T Cell Activation Bioassay (IL-2)

Wu, L. et al. (2020) Trispecific Abs enhance the therapeutic efficacy of tumor-directed T cells through T cell receptor co-stimulation. Nat. Cancer 1, 86–98. doi: 10.1038/s43018-019-0004-z


T Cell Activation Bioassay (NFAT)

Sahin, U. et al. (2020) An RNA vaccine drives immunity in checkpoint-inhibitor-treated melanoma. Nature 585, 107–112. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2537-9

Nakazawa, H. et al. (2020) Association behavior and control of the quality of cancer therapeutic bispecific diabodies expressed in E. coli. Biochem. Eng. J. 160, 107636. doi: 10.1016/j.bej.2020.107636

An Introduction to T Cell Activation

T cells play a central role in cell-mediated immunity and can regulate long-term, antigen-specific, effector and memory responses. Immunotherapy strategies aimed at inducing, strengthening and/or engineering T cell responses have recently emerged as promising approaches for the treatment of diseases such as cancer and autoimmunity. 

T cell activation is initiated by engagement of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR)/CD3 complex and the co-stimulatory receptor CD28. Engagement of TCR/CD3 on the cell surface leads to intracellular signaling events and the activation of nuclear transcription factors such as Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells (NFAT). In addition, co-engagement of TCR/CD3 with the co-stimulatory receptor CD28 leads to activation of AP-1 and NF-kB pathways. The IL-2 promoter contains DNA binding sites for NFAT, NF-kB and AP-1. Therefore, co-engagement of TCR/CD3 and CD28 results in IL-2 production, which is commonly used as a functional readout for T cell activation.

Traditional methods used to measure TCR-mediated T cell proliferation and cytokine production rely on laborious and highly variable primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).  However, functional reporter bioassays are now available that overcome limitations of PBMC-based assays by providing a workflow that is simple, reproducible, and scalable for antibody screening and drug discovery.