Dendritic cells are the most powerful type of antigen presenting cells. Current immunotherapies targeting dendritic cells have shown a relative degree of success but still require further improvement. One of the most important issues to solve is the efficiency of antigen delivery to dendritic cells in order to achieve an appropriate uptake, processing, and presentation to Ag-specific T cells. C-type lectins have shown to be ideal receptors for the targeting of antigens to dendritic cells and allow the use of their natural ligands - glycans - instead of antibodies. Amongst them, dendritic cell-specific ICAM-3-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) is an interesting candidate due to its biological properties and the availability of its natural carbohydrate ligands. Using Le(b)-conjugated poly(amido amine) (PAMAM) dendrimers we aimed to characterize the optimal level of multivalency necessary to achieve the desired internalization, lysosomal delivery, Ag-specific T cell proliferation, and cytokine response. Increasing DC-SIGN ligand multivalency directly translated in an enhanced binding, which might also be interesting for blocking purposes. Internalization, routing to lysosomal compartments, antigen presentation and cytokine response could be optimally achieved with glycopeptide dendrimers carrying 16-32 glycan units. This report provides the basis for the design of efficient targeting of peptide antigens for the immunotherapy of cancer, autoimmunity and infectious diseases.
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