Activation of host T cells that mediate allograft rejection is a 2-step process. The first occurs in secondary lymphoid organs where T cells encounter alloantigens presented by host DCs and differentiate to effectors. Antigen presentation at these sites occurs principally via transfer of intact, donor MHC-peptide complexes from graft cells to host DCs (cross-dressing) or by uptake and processing of donor antigens into allopeptides bound to self-MHC molecules (indirect presentation). The second step takes place in the graft, where effector T cells reengage with host DCs before causing rejection. How host DCs present alloantigens to T cells in the graft is not known. Using mouse islet and kidney transplantation models, imaging cytometry, and 2-photon intravital microscopy, we demonstrate extensive cross-dressing of intragraft host DCs with donor MHC-peptide complexes that occurred early after transplantation, whereas host DCs presenting donor antigen via the indirect pathway were rare. Cross-dressed DCs stably engaged TCR-transgenic effector CD8+ T cells that recognized donor antigen and were sufficient for sustaining acute rejection. In the chronic kidney rejection model, cross-dressing declined over time but was still conspicuous 8 weeks after transplantation. We conclude that cross-dressing of host DCs with donor MHC molecules is a major antigen presentation pathway driving effector T cell responses within allografts.
Andrew D. Hughes, Daqiang Zhao, Hehua Dai, Khodor I. Abou-Daya, Roger Tieu, Rayan Rammal, Amanda L. Williams, Douglas P. Landsittel, Warren D. Shlomchik, Adrian E. Morelli, Martin H. Oberbarnscheidt, Fadi G. Lakkis
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.