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Nat Immunol. 2004 Nov;5(11):1143-8. Epub 2004 Oct 10.

Cognate CD4(+) T cell licensing of dendritic cells in CD8(+) T cell immunity.

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Division of Immunology, The Co-operative Research Centre for Vaccine Technology at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria 3050, Australia.


Several studies have indicated that CD8(+) T cells require CD4(+) T cell help for memory formation. Evidence suggests that such help can be antigen independent, challenging whether the 'licensing' of dendritic cells (DCs) by CD4(+) T cells is ever required for cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. We show here that help is essential for the generation of CTL immunity to herpes simplex virus 1 and that CD4(+) T cells mediate help in a cognate, antigen-specific way. We provide direct in vivo evidence for DC licensing by helper T cells and show that licensing is rapid and essential for the formation of effector and memory CTLs. In situations in which DCs are poorly licensed by pathogen-derived signals, our findings suggest that CTL immunity may be heavily dependent on cognate DC licensing.

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