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Mini Review ARTICLE

Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.01276

Antigen cross-presentation by macrophages Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1Tumor Immunology, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Netherlands
  • 2Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Netherlands
  • 3Department of Molecular Immunology and Microbiology, University of Groningen, Netherlands

The contribution of dendritic cell (DC) antigen cross-presentation to the activation of CD8+ T lymphocytes for immune defense against tumors, viruses and intracellular pathogens has been recognized widely. Although originally thought to be an exclusive characteristic of DCs, recently also other immune cells, particularly macrophages, have been shown capable of cross-presentation. Here we provide an overview of in vitro and in vivo evidence on cross-presentation by macrophages. As we discuss, it is now firmly established that various types of tissue-resident macrophages are able to cross-present via similar cellular pathways as DCs. This is based on a wide range of antigens in macrophages from many different tissue origins such as blood, tumors and lymphoid tissue. However, the physiological relevance of macrophage cross-presentation with potential contributions to activation of CD8+ T lymphocytes is still mostly unknown. While cross-presentation by various types of pro-inflammatory macrophages might be involved in cross-priming of naive CD8+ T lymphocytes, it might also be involved in local re-activation of memory and/or effector CD8+ T lymphocytes. Moreover, cross-presentation by anti-inflammatory macrophages could be related to immune tolerance. Since cross-presentation promotes the initiation and potentiation of antigen-specific CD8+ T lymphocyte responses, stimulating macrophages to cross-present antigen might be a promising strategy for anti-tumor or anti-viral therapies.

Keywords: Tumor immune responses 1, Antigen cross-presentation 2, Vacuolar pathway 3, Macrophages 4, Cytosolic pathway 5, T cell activation 6, Intracellular pathogens 7

Received: 18 Mar 2020; Accepted: 20 May 2020.

Copyright: © 2020 Muntjewerff, Meesters and Van Den Bogaart. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Geert Van Den Bogaart, University of Groningen, Department of Molecular Immunology and Microbiology, Groningen, 9712 CP, Netherlands,