Antigen‐presenting Cells


Antigen‐presenting cells (APC) are able to acquire microbial and other antigens and display these antigens on their surface in a way that leads to activation of T and B lymphocytes, the major effector cells of the immune system. Different types of APC interact with different lymphocyte populations and stimulate distinct types of immune responses.

Keywords: dendritic cells; macrophages; B cells; dendritic cell subsets; T cell differentiation

Figure 1.

Antigen presentation in immune responses.

Figure 2.

Comparison of different specialist antigen‐presenting cells and the cells with which they interact.


Further Reading

Banchereau J and Steinman RM (1998) Dendritic cells and the control of immunity. Nature 392: 245–252.

Geijtenbeek TB, Torensma R, van Vliet SJ et al. (2000) Identification of DC‐SIGN, a novel dendritic cell‐specific ICAM‐3 receptor that supports primary immune responses. Cell 100: 575–585.

Kurts C, Kosaka H, Carbone FR, Miller JF and Heath WR (1997) Class I‐restricted cross‐presentation of exogenous self‐antigens leads to deletion of autoreactive CD8(+) T cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine 186: 239–245.

Randolph GJ, Beaulieu S, Lebecque S, Steinman RM and Muller WA (1998) Differentiation of monocytes into dendritic cells in a model of transendothelial trafficking. Science 282: 480–483.

Reid SD, Penna G and Adorini L (2000) The control of T cell responses by dendritic cell subsets. Current Opinion in Immunology 12: 114–121.

Wykes M, Pombo A, Jenkins C and Macpherson GG (1998) Dendritic cells interact directly with naïve B lymphocytes to transfer antigen and initiate class switching in primary T‐dependent response. Journal of Immunology 161: 1313–1319.

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How to Cite close
Stagg, Andrew J, and Knight, Stella C(Apr 2001) Antigen‐presenting Cells. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000903]