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Keywords:

  • Antigen targeting;
  • CLEC9A;
  • DC NK lectin group receptor-1;
  • Immunity;
  • Tolerance

Abstract

DC NK lectin group receptor-1 (DNGR-1, also known as CLEC9A) is a C-type lectin receptor expressed by mouse CD8α+ DC and by their putative equivalents in human. DNGR-1 senses necrosis and regulates CD8+ T-cell cross-priming to dead-cell-associated antigens. In addition, DNGR-1 is a target for selective in vivo delivery of antigens to DC and the induction of CD8+ T-cell and Ab responses. In this study, we evaluated whether DNGR-1 targeting can be additionally used to manipulate antigen-specific CD4+ T lymphocytes. Injection of small amounts of antigen-coupled anti-DNGR-1 mAb into mice promoted MHC class II antigen presentation selectively by CD8α+ DC. In the steady state, this was sufficient to induce proliferation of antigen-specific naïve CD4+ T cells and to drive their differentiation into Foxp3+ regulatory lymphocytes. Co-administration of adjuvants prevented this induction of tolerance and promoted immunity. Notably, distinct adjuvants allowed qualitative modulation of CD4+ T-cell behavior: poly I:C induced a strong IL-12-independent Th1 response, whereas curdlan led to the priming of Th17 cells. Thus, antigen targeting to DNGR-1 is a versatile approach for inducing functionally distinct CD4+ T-cell responses. Given the restricted pattern of expression of DNGR-1 across species, this strategy could prove useful for developing immunotherapy protocols in humans.