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The MHC class I pathway is usually fueled by endogenous Ags, while exogenous Ags reach the MHC class II pathway. Although exogenous epitopes may also enter the MHC class I pathway, quantification of the efficiency of the process has remained a difficult task. In an attempt of such a quantification, we directly compared the amount of exogenous virus-like particles required for induction of cytotoxic T cell responses by cross-priming with the amount of virus-like particles required for induction of Th cell responses by the conventional route of MHC class II loading as an internal standard. Surprisingly, we found that cross-presentation of peptides derived from exogenous Ags on MHC class I molecules is of only marginally lower efficiency ( approximately 1- to 10-fold) than the classical MHC class II pathway in vitro and in vivo. Thus, Ag quantities required for cross-presentation and cross-priming are similar to those required for fueling the MHC class II pathway.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





6129 - 6135


Animals, Antigen Presentation, Antigens, Viral, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic, Glycoproteins, H-2 Antigens, Hepatitis B Core Antigens, Histocompatibility Antigen H-2D, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Injections, Intravenous, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocyte Count, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Peptide Fragments, Protein Binding, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Recombinant Proteins, Viral Proteins, Virion