The ability for the professional APC to cross-present Ag to MHC class I from parenchymal cells is essential for priming as well as tolerance of CD8 + T cells against intracellular Ags. Since cross-presentations of non-cell-associated free Ags are inefficient, the roles of molecular chaperones or heat shock proteins (HSPs) in chaperoning Ags to APCs have been postulated. We herein genetically addressed this hypothesis using mice that were defective of heat shock factor 1 (Hsf1), a major transcription factor for HSPs. Hsf1 -/- mice have a decreased expression of several HSPs including HSP90 and HSP70. Using multiple Ag systems, we demonstrated that cross-priming of Ag-specific CD8+ T cells was inefficient when Ag expression was restricted to Hsf1-/- non-APCs. Our study provides the first genetic evidence for the roles of Hsf1 in regulating cross-presentation of MHC class I-associated Ags.
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