Visualizing priming of virus-specific CD8+ T cells by infected dendritic cells in vivo

Nat Immunol. 2002 Mar;3(3):265-71. doi: 10.1038/ni762. Epub 2002 Feb 4.


The rational design of vaccines that elicit CD8+ T cell responses requires knowledge of the identity of the antigen-presenting cell (APC), the location and time of presentation and the nature of the antigen presented by the APC. Here we address these questions for an antigen encoded by a recombinant vaccinia virus. We found that, following local infection, vaccinia virus infected macrophages and dendritic cells in draining lymph nodes. However, only the dendritic cells presented antigen to naïve CD8+ T cells, as determined by direct visualization of sectioned nodes by confocal microscopy. Presentation occurred as rapidly as 6 h after inoculation and quickly declined in parallel with the number of infected cells present in the nodes. These data provide direct evidence that virus-infected APCs prime naïve CD8+ T cells in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Line
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology*
  • Dendritic Cells / virology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / virology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology*