Dendritic cells (DC), first characterized in 1973 by Steinman and Cohn, have been defined as the professional antigen presenting cells (APC), capable of activating naïve T cells much more efficiently than either B cells or macrophages. DC also capture and process antigen more efficiently than other APC, and offer MHC-antigen complexes to T cells at higher densities, and in the context of larger amounts of co-stimulatory molecules (i.e. CD40, CD80 and CD86) at the T cell-DC synapse. Although historically, the principal function of DC is the priming of naïve T cells, more recently they have also been shown to affect the functions of natural killer (NK) cells. Interactions between DC and NK cells may be critical in situations where immune surveillance requires efficient early activation of NK cells, as is the case during infections. This review aims to summarise the interactions that occur between DC and NK cells during viral infection.
- Dendritic cells
- Natural killer cells