Dendritic cells (DCs) are the major sentinel, antigen-presenting and regulatory components of the immune system. One of the central DC functions is to rapidly sense and alert host immune system of a pathogen invasion. In the present study, we investigated the role of DC exosomes (DCex) in this sentinel function. We demonstrated that DCex could bind bacterial Toll-like-receptor ligands (TLR-Ls), and acquire their ability to strongly activate bystander DCs. Consequently, bystander DCs enhance the expression of transmembrane tumor necrosis factor, secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and cross-talk with natural killer cells leading to the elevated secretion of IFNγ. These findings newly show that DCex can bind and cross-present TLR-Ls to innate-immunity effector cells, and indicate a potent mechanism to systemically alert the host immune system of pathogen invasion. They also suggest a potential novel strategy to generate effective vaccines by binding TLR-L-immune adjuvants to DCex.
Keywords: Dendritic cells; Exosomes; NK cells; TLR ligands; Th1 response; Transmembrane TNF.
Published by Elsevier Inc.