Antigen Bias in T Cell Cross-Priming

Science  28 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5675, pp. 1314-1317
DOI: 10.1126/science.1096268

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Activated CD8+ T cells detect virally infected cells and tumor cells by recognition of major histocompatibility complex class I–bound peptides derived from degraded, endogenously produced proteins. In contrast, CD8+ T cell activation often occurs through interaction with specialized antigen-presenting cells displaying peptides acquired from an exogenous cellular source, a process termed cross-priming. Here, we observed a marked inefficiency in exogenous presentation of epitopes derived from signal sequences in mouse models. These data indicate that certain virus- and tumor-associated antigens may not be detected by CD8+ T cells because of impaired cross-priming. Such differences in the ability to cross-present antigens should form important considerations in vaccine design.

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