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Induction of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against minor histocompatibility antigens is dependent upon the presence of T cell help and requires the interaction of CD40 on dendritic cells (DCs) with CD40 ligand on activated T helper cells (Th). This study demonstrates that CD40 is neither involved in Th-dependent nor Th-independent antiviral CTL responses. Moreover, the data show that DC maturation occurs in vivo after viral infection in the absence of CD40 and Th. This maturation did not require viral infection of DCs but was mediated by peptide-specific CD8(+) T cells. Surprisingly, naive CD8(+) T cells were able to trigger DC maturation within 24 h after activation in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, peptide-activated CD8(+) T cells were able to induce maturation in trans, as DCs that failed to present the relevant antigen in vivo also underwent maturation. Upon isolation, the in vivo-stimulated DCs were able to convert a classically Th-dependent CTL response (anti-HY) into a Th-independent response in vitro. Thus, antiviral CD8(+) T cells are sufficient for the maturation of DCs in the absence of CD40.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Med

Publication Date





1875 - 1884


Animals, CD40 Antigens, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Dendritic Cells, Flow Cytometry, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Immunization, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Spleen, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer, Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus