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Immunity. 2009 Oct 16;31(4):665-76. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2009.08.022. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

Mast cell-mediated antigen presentation regulates CD8+ T cell effector functions.

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Department of Immunology and Cell Biology, Research Center Borstel, D-23845 Borstel, Germany.


The characteristics, importance, and molecular requirements for interactions between mast cells (MCs) and CD8(+) T cells have not been elucidated. Here, we demonstrated that MCs induced antigen-specific CD8(+) T cell activation and proliferation. This process required direct cell contact and MHC class I-dependent antigen cross-presentation by MCs and induced the secretion of interleukin-2, interferon-gamma, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha by CD8(+) T cells. MCs regulated antigen-specific CD8(+) T cell cytotoxicity by increasing granzyme B expression and by promoting CD8(+) T cell degranulation. Because MCs also upregulated their expression of costimulatory molecules (4-1BB) and released osteopontin upon direct T cell contact, MC-T cell interactions probably are bidirectional. In vivo, adoptive transfer of antigen-pulsed MCs induced MHC class I-dependent, antigen-specific CD8(+) T cell proliferation, and MCs regulated CD8(+) T cell-specific priming in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Thus, MCs are important players in antigen-specific regulation of CD8(+) T cells.

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