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Activation of invariant NK T (iNKT) cells with the glycolipid alpha-galactosylceramide promotes CD8(+) cytotoxic T cell responses, a property that has been used to enhance the efficacy of antitumor vaccines. Using chimeric mice, we now show that the adjuvant properties of iNKT cells require that CD40 triggering and Ag presentation to CD8(+) T cells occur on the same APCs. We demonstrate that injection of alpha-galactosylceramide triggers CD70 expression on splenic T cell zone dendritic cells and that this is dependent on CD40 signaling. Importantly, we show that blocking the interaction between CD70 and CD27, its costimulatory receptor on T cells, abrogates the ability of iNKT cells to promote a CD8(+) T cell response and abolishes the efficacy of alpha-GalCer as an adjuvant for antitumor vaccines. These results define a key role for CD70 in linking the innate response of iNKT cells to the activation of CD8(+) T cells.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





4615 - 4620


Animals, Antigen-Presenting Cells, CD27 Ligand, CD40 Antigens, Dendritic Cells, Galactosylceramides, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Signal Transduction, Spleen, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory