Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Cytotoxic T-Cells

  • Marc SchmitzEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_1500-5


CD8+ cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) are major cellular components of the adaptive immune system. They efficiently recognize and destroy virus-infected host cells or tumor cells, which expose antigenic peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules.


Dendritic Cells Play a Major Role in the Induction of CD8+ T Cell Responses

CD8+ CTLs can be efficiently activated by “professional” antigen-presenting cells (APCs) such as dendritic cells (DCs), which display the appropriate MHC class I-peptide complexes on their surface. DCs are the most effective APCs for stimulating naïve T cells that have not recognized and responded to antigens. Besides their extraordinary capability to initiate CD8+ T cell responses, DCs also essentially contribute to the maintenance and regulation of previously activated CD8+ CTLs. Macrophages and B lymphocytes also function as APCs, but mostly for previously stimulated T cells rather than for naïve T cells.



Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Costimulatory Molecule Chimeric Antigen Receptor Antigen Recognition Bone Marrow Progenitor Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für ImmunologieTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany