"Cross-priming" describes the activation of naïve CD8 + T cells by professional antigen-presenting cells that have acquired viral or tumor antigens from "donor" cells. Antigen transfer is believed to be mediated by donor cell-derived molecular chaperones bearing short peptide ligands generated by proteasome degradation of protein antigens. We show here that cross-priming is based on the transfer of proteasome substrates rather than peptides. These findings are potentially important for the rational design of vaccines that elicit CD8+ T cell responses.
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