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Blood. 2008 Nov 1;112(9):3713-22. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-03-146290. Epub 2008 Aug 12.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells efficiently cross-prime naive T cells in vivo after TLR activation.

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Institut Pasteur, Unité de Régulation Immunitaire et Vaccinologie, Paris, France.


Cross-presentation is a crucial mechanism in tumoral and microbial immunity because it allows internalized cell associated or exogenous antigens (Ags) to be delivered into the major histocompatibility complex I pathway. This pathway is important for the development of CD8(+) T-cell responses and for the induction of tolerance. In mice, cross-presentation is considered to be a unique property of CD8alpha+ conventional dendritic cells (DCs). Here we show that splenic plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) efficiently capture exogenous Ags in vivo but are not able to cross-present these Ags at steady state. However, in vitro and in vivo stimulation by Toll-like receptor-7, or -9 or viruses licenses pDCs to cross-present soluble or particulate Ags by a transporter associated with antigen processing-dependent mechanism. Induction of cross-presentation confers to pDCs the ability to generate efficient effector CD8+ T-cell responses against exogenous Ags in vivo, showing that pDCs may play a crucial role in induction of adaptive immune responses against pathogens that do not infect tissues of hemopoietic origin. This study provides the first evidence for an in vivo role of splenic pDCs in Ag cross-presentation and T-cell cross-priming and suggests that pDCs may constitute an attractive target to boost the efficacy of vaccines based on cytotoxic T lymphocyte induction.

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