Antigen cross-presentation: extending recent laboratory findings to therapeutic intervention.
Flinsenberg TWH., Compeer EB., Boelens JJ., Boes M.
The initiation of adaptive immune responses requires antigen presentation to lymphocytes. In particular, dendritic cells (DCs) are equipped with specialized machinery that promote effective display of peptide/major histocompatibility complexes (MHC), rendering them the most potent stimulators of naive T lymphocytes. Antigen cross-presentation to CD8(+) T cells is an important mechanism for the development of specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against tumours and viruses that do not infect antigen-presenting cells. Here, we review recent findings concerning antigen cross-presentation to CD8(+) T lymphocytes. Specific subtypes of DCs in the mouse have been defined as being especially endowed for antigen cross-presentation, and a human homologue of these DCs has recently been described. DC vaccination strategies for the prevention and treatment of human diseases have been under investigation in recent years, but have not generally reached satisfying results. We here provide an overview of new findings in antigen cross-presentation research and how they can be used for development of the next generation of human DC vaccines.