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Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 Sep;3(9):697-709.

DC-SIGN: escape mechanism for pathogens.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology Vrije Universiteit Medical Center Amsterdam, v.d. Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are crucial in the defence against pathogens. Invading pathogens are recognized by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and receptors such as C-type lectins expressed on the surface of DCs. However, it is becoming evident that some pathogens, including viruses, such as HIV-1, and non-viral pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, subvert DC functions to escape immune surveillance by targeting the C-type lectin DC-SIGN (DC-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-grabbing nonintegrin). Notably, these pathogens misuse DC-SIGN by distinct mechanisms that either circumvent antigen processing or alter TLR-mediated signalling, skewing T-cell responses. This implies that adaptation of pathogens to target DC-SIGN might support pathogen survival.

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