Jurkat-Raji PD-1/PD-L1 assay (Bio-IC™)

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PD-1/PD-L1 Bio-IC™

2 cell lines (Jurkat & Raji) based Lucia luciferase reporter assay

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3-7 x 10e6 cells (x2)


Antagonist screening assay for PD-1/PD-L1 axis

InvivoGen offers a cellular assay specifically designed for screening antibody-, Fc-fusion protein-, or small-molecule antagonists of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint (IC) axis. This assay is comprised of:

Principle of PD-1/PD-L1 cellular assay
Principle of PD-1/PD-L1 cellular assay
(click to enlarge)

  • Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1: Reporter T cells
  • Raji-APC-hPD-L1: Antigen-presenting cells (APCs)

​These paired cell lines allow the mimicking of the immune synapse between T cells and APCs through the interaction of cell surface molecules delivering T-cell activation and concomitant inhibitory checkpoint signals:
- Signal 1 is delivered upon recognition of a specific [HLA::peptide] complex on Raji APC cells by the T-cell receptor (TCR) on Jurkat effector cells,
- Signal 2 is operated by the interaction of CD80/86 and CD28 at the surface of the Raji APC and Jurkat effector cells, respectively,
- PD-1/PD-L1 IC signal is a regulatory signal that inhibits T-cell activation.

More details More details


Assay principle:

This assay relies on the co-culture of Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 and Raji-APC-hPD-L1 cells.
Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells express a specific TCR and the PD-1 inhibitory IC receptor along with the Lucia luciferase reporter gene under the control of an ISG54 minimal promoter fused to six NFAT response elements.
Raji-APC-hPD-L1 cells express a specific [HLA::peptide] complex and the PD-L1 inhibitory IC ligand.
In the presence of a potent PD-1 or PD-L1 antagonist, the IC-mediated inhibition is blocked and the TCR activation leads to Lucia production. Activation of the reporter  T cells can be readily measured using QUANTI-Luc™ 4 Lucia/Gaussia detection reagent (see Figures).

T-cell key features:

  • Stable specific [HLA::peptide]-restricted TCR
  • Stable hCD28 overexpression
  • Stable hPD-1 overexpression
  • NFAT-inducible Lucia luciferase reporter activity

APC key features:

  • Stable specific [HLA::peptide] expression
  • Endogenous hCD80/86 expression
  • Stable hPD-L1 overexpression

Read our review Read our review on Immune Checkpoint Blockade

Learn more about Immune Checkpoint Antibodies Learn more about Immune Checkpoint Antibodies.


CD28 and PD-1 expression on Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells
CD28 and PD-1 expression on Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells

Validation of human CD28 and PD-1 expression by Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells.

Jurkat-Lucia™ NFAT and Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells were incubated with a PE‑conjugated Anti-hCD28 (A) or APC-conjugated Anti-hPD-1 (B) mAb for 30 minutes.
The binding affinity was then measured using flow cytometry.

PD-L1 expression on Raji-APC-derived cells
PD-L1 expression on Raji-APC-derived cells

Validation of human PD-L1 expression by Raji-APC-hPD-L1 cells.

Raji-APC-Null and Raji‑APC-hPD-L1 cells were incubated with a PE‑conjugated Anti-hPD-L1 mAb for 30 minutes.
The binding affinity was then measured using flow cytometry.

Disruption of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitory interaction using Anti-hPD-1 or Anti-hPD-L1 antibodies
Disruption of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitory interaction using Anti-hPD-1 or Anti-hPD-L1 antibodies

Activation of Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells.
Raji-APC-hPD-L1 and Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells were incubated with gradient concentrations of AntihPD-1 hIgG1 (Ni: Nivolumab variable region; Pem: Pembrolizumab variable region) or Anti-hPD-L1 mAbs for 6 hours. NFAT activation, reflecting the disruption of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitory interaction, was assessed by determining Lucia luciferase activity in the supernatant using QUANTI-Luc™.
The fold increase over non induced cells (no mAbs) is shown.

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Growth medium: IMDM, 2 mM L-glutamine, 25 mM HEPES, 10% (v/v) heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum (FBS), 100 U/ml penicillin, 100 µg/ml streptomycin, 100 µg/ml Normocin™

Antibiotic resistance:

Quality Control:

  • Human CD28, PD-1, and PD-L1 expression have been verified by flow-cytometry.
  • Reporter activity has been validated using InvivoGen's anti-hPD-1 and anti-hPD-L1 antibodies.
  • The stability for 20 passages following thawing has been verified.
  • Both cell lines are guaranteed mycoplasma-free.

These products are covered by a Limited Use License (See Terms and Conditions).

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Please note: Both cell lines are sold together and cannot be sold separately.

  • 3-7 x 106 Jurkat-Lucia™ TCR-hPD-1 cells in a cryovial or shipping flask
  • 3-7 x 106 Raji-APC-hPD-L1 cells in a cryovial or shipping flask
  • 1 ml of Blasticidin (10 mg/ml)
  • 1 ml of Zeocin® (100 mg/ml)
  • 1 ml of Hygromycin (100 mg/ml)
  • 1 ml of G418 (Geneticin) (100 mg/ml)
  • 1 ml of Normocin™ (50 mg/ml). Normocin™ is a formulation of three antibiotics active against mycoplasmas, bacteria, and fungi.
  • 1 tube of QUANTI-Luc™ 4 Reagent, a Lucia luciferase detection reagent (sufficient to prepare 25 ml)

Shipped on dry ice Shipped on dry ice (Europe, USA, Canada, and some areas in Asia)

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The activation of T lymphocytes initiates their proliferation and yields a variety of effector functions that allow combating microbial infections, as well as developing tumors. The current paradigm is that full activation of T cells requires at least 2 signals upon contact with antigen-presenting cells (APCs) [1, 2].

Signal 1 is delivered through the interaction of the T cell receptor (TCR) and a specific antigenic peptide associated with an MHC (major histocompatibility complex) molecule on APCs. Signal 2 is delivered through the interaction of CD28, the prototypical T cell co-stimulatory molecule, and its ligands, CD80 or CD86, expressed by the APC. However, a number of other molecules, named immune checkpoints (IC), have been reported to regulate the onset and the limitations of T cell activities. PD-1 (programmed cell death 1) receptor and its ligand, PD-L1, are among the best characterized suppressive immune checkpoints [3].


Signal 1: TCR and [HLA::peptide]

The 'classical' and most represented TCR is an 80 to 90 kDa heterodimer composed of one α chain and one β chain. The αβTCR is a transmembrane protein expressed by developing and mature T cells. It features an extracellular ligand-binding pocket and a short cytoplasmic tail. Each αβTCR is restricted to a specific complex made of an antigenic peptide and a class I or class II MHC molecule. Human MHC molecules are also known as HLA (human leukocyte antigen). Because of its short cytoplasmic tail, the TCR, once engaged,  lacks the ability to signal and requires non-covalent association with the CD3 to trigger downstream intracellular signaling and T cell activation [1, 2]. Importantly, signal 1 without co-stimulation results in T cell unresponsiveness or 'anergy', a tolerance mechanism that guards against premature activation.


Signal 2: CD28 and CD80/86

CD28 is a homodimeric and transmembrane protein expressed by T cells. Nearly all human CD4+ T cells and 50% of human CD8+ T cells express CD28. The CD28 interaction with CD80 (aka B7-1) or CD86 (aka B7-2) on APCs, in conjunction with TCR engagement, triggers a co-stimulation signal (signal 2). It results in T cell proliferation, cytokine production, cell survival, and cellular metabolism [1, 2].


IC signal: PD-1 and PD-L1

— PD-1 (programmed cell death 1; also known as CD279) is a type I transmembrane protein expressed at the cell surface of activated and exhausted conventional T cells. PD-1 is an inhibitory immune checkpoint that prevents T-cell overstimulation and host damage. PD-1 interaction with its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 induces inhibition of TCR signaling [3].

— PD-L1 (programmed cell death ligand 1; also known as CD274 or B7-H1) is a transmembrane protein expressed at the cell surface of hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells and is induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as in the tumor microenvironment  [3].  PD-L1 is one ligand for PD-1, an inhibitory immune checkpoint receptor that is expressed by activated and exhausted T cells. PD-1:PD-L1 interaction induces inhibition of TCR signaling, thereby preventing T-cell overstimulation and host damage [3].



1. Budd R.C. & Fortner K.A., 2017. Chapter 12 - T Lymphocytes. Kelley and Firestein's Textbook of Rheumatology (Tenth Edition). pages 189-206.
2. Smith-Garvin J.E. et al., 2009. T Cell Activation. Ann. Rev. Immunol. 27:591-619.
3. Ribas A. and Wolchock J.D., 2018. Cancer immunotherapy using checkpoint blockade. Science. 359:1350-55.

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Notification:  This product is for internal research use only. Additional rights may be available. Please visit InvivoGen’s Terms and Conditions.


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