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Dendritic cells (DCs) possess the specialized potential to present exogenously derived antigen to cytotoxic T lymphocytes to elicit an immune response. This process, termed cross presentation, is crucial in the generation of immune response to viruses, tumors and in autoimmune disease. The ability of DCs to cross-present exogenous antigen to cytotoxic T lymphocytes makes them an attractive target for exploitation in immunotherapy. In recent years, significant advances have been made in understanding the mechanism of cross-presentation and the DC subsets involved. The recent discovery of the human cross presenting DC has given this field a new lease of life. In this report, the authors provide an overview of cross-presentation of antigen by DCs, focusing on the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the process. The authors also discuss the DC subsets involved in cross presentation and its role in health and disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Rev Clin Immunol

Publication Date





547 - 555


Antigen Presentation, Cross-Priming, Dendritic Cells, Humans