Dendritic cells (DCs) process and present self and foreign antigens to induce tolerance or immunity. In vitro models suggest that induction of immunity is controlled by regulating the presentation of antigen, but little is known about how DCs control antigen presentation in vivo. To examine antigen processing and presentation in vivo, we specifically targeted antigens to two major subsets of DCs by using chimeric monoclonal antibodies. Unlike CD8 + DCs that express the cell surface protein CD205, CD8- DCs, which are positive for the 3301 antigen, are specialized for presentation on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II. This difference in antigen processing is intrinsic to the DC subsets and is associated with increased expression of proteins involved in MHC processing.
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