A neuronal receptor, neuropilin-1, is essential for the initiation of the primary immune response

Nat Immunol. 2002 May;3(5):477-82. doi: 10.1038/ni789. Epub 2002 Apr 15.


The initiation of a primary immune response requires contact between dendritic cells (DCs) and resting T cells. However, little is known about the proteins that mediate this initial contact. We show here that neuropilin-1, a receptor involved in axon guidance, was expressed by human DCs and resting T cells both in vitro and in vivo. The initial contact between DCs and resting T cells led to neuropilin-1 polarization on T cells. DCs and resting T cells specifically bound soluble neuropilin-1, and resting T cells formed clusters with neuropilin-1-transfected COS-7 cells in a neuropilin-1-dependent manner. Functionally, preincubation of DCs or resting T cells with blocking neuropilin-1 antibodies inhibited DC-induced proliferation of resting T cells. These data suggest that neuropilin-1 mediates interactions between DCs and T cells that are essential for initiation of the primary immune response and show parallels between the nervous and immune systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Communication / immunology*
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / immunology*
  • Neuropilin-1
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Transfection


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Neuropilin-1