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Nat Med. 2001 Jul;7(7):807-13.

Apoptotic cells overexpress vinculin and induce vinculin-specific cytotoxic T-cell cross-priming.

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  • 1Fondazione Andrea Cesalpino, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Universit√† degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Here we show that apoptotic cells overexpress vinculin and are ingested by dendritic cells, which subsequently cross-prime vinculin-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Successful cross-priming requires that the apoptotic cells provide maturation signals to dendritic cells through CD40-CD40 ligand (CD40L) interactions. If apoptotic cells are CD40L-, the help of a third T cell is needed for priming, indicating a regulatory role for apoptotic cells in determining priming or tolerance. Vinculin-specific CTL priming is also related to apoptosis in vivo, given that in HIV-seropositive individuals, the frequency of specific CTLs depends on the proportion of peripheral CD40L+ apoptotic cells.

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