Cross-presentation by dendritic cells

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Jul 13;12(8):557-69. doi: 10.1038/nri3254.


The presentation of exogenous antigens on MHC class I molecules, known as cross-presentation, is essential for the initiation of CD8(+) T cell responses. In vivo, cross-presentation is mainly carried out by specific dendritic cell (DC) subsets through an adaptation of their endocytic and phagocytic pathways. Here, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the intracellular mechanisms of cross-presentation and discuss its role in immunity and tolerance in the context of specialization between DC subsets. Finally, we review current strategies to use cross-presentation for immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cross-Priming / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology
  • Mice


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I