Many tumors express tumor-specific antigens capable of being presented to CD8+ T cells by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class 1 molecules. Antigen presentation models predict that the tumor cell itself should present these antigens to T cells. However, when conditions for the priming of tumor-specific responses were examined in mice, no detectable presentation of MHC class 1-restricted tumor antigens by the tumor itself was found. Rather, tumor antigens were exclusively presented by host bone marrow-derived cells. Thus, MHC class 1-restricted antigens are efficiently transferred in vivo to bone marrow-derived antigen-presenting cells, which suggests that human leukocyte antigen matching may be less critical in the application of tumor vaccines than previously thought.
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