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J Immunol. 2009 Jan 1;182(1):283-92.

Contribution of direct and cross-presentation to CTL immunity against herpes simplex virus 1.

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Clinic for Immunology and Rheumatology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Dendritic cells (DC), which can be subdivided into different phenotypic and functional subsets, play a pivotal role in the generation of cytotoxic T cell immunity against viral infections. Understanding the modes of Ag acquisition, processing and presentation by DC is essential for the design of effective antiviral vaccines. We aimed to assess the contribution of direct vs cross-presentation for the induction of HSV1-specific CD8(+) T lymphocyte responses in mice. Using HSV1 strains expressing fluorescence proteins, we provide evidence for the ability of HSV1 to induce viral transcription. Using HSV1-wild-type as well as gB- or gH-deficient mutants to either directly inoculate DC or to infect target cells, which then were given to DC, we show that DC acquired viral Ag via phagocytosis of target cells and via direct inoculation of virus being released from target cells. Our study corroborates the function of the CD8(+) DC specialized in Ag cross-presentation and confirms this specific feature for Ags that these DC acquire directly from HSV1. However, although infection of cross-presenting DC amplified T cell responses, it was not a requirement for presentation of viral Ags, both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we provide evidence that direct presentation did not contribute to the Ag presentation capacity of CD8(+) DC after phagocytosis of infected target cells. We conclude that cross-presentation is of major importance for the induction of CTL immunity in mice.

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