Follicular and marginal zone B cells fail to cross-present MHC class I-restricted epitopes derived from viral particles.
Keller SA., von Allmen CE., Hinton HJ., Bauer M., Muntwiler S., Dietmeier K., Saudan P., Bachmann MF.
Viruses and virus-like particles (VLPs) are known to be potent inducers of B cell as well as Th cell and CTL responses. It is well established that professional APCs such as dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages efficiently process viral particles for both MHC class I- and MHC class II-associated presentation, which is essential for induction of CTL and Th cell responses, respectively. Less is known, however, about the ability of B cells to present epitopes derived from viral particles to T cells. Using two different VLPs, in this study we show in vitro as well as in vivo that DCs present VLP-derived peptides in association with MHC class I as well as class II. In contrast, although B cells were able to capture VLPs similarly as DCs and although they efficiently processed VLPs for presentation in association with MHC class II, they failed to process exogenous VLPs for presentation in association with MHC class I. Thus, in contrast to DCs, B cells are not involved in the process of cross-priming. This finding is of physiological importance because B cells with the ability to cross-present Ag to specific CD8(+) T cells may be killed by these cells, preventing the generation of neutralizing Ab responses.