Cross-linking the B7 family molecule B7-DC directly activates immune functions of dendritic cells.
B7-DC molecules are known to function as ligands on antigen-presenting cells (APCs), enhancing T cell activation. In this study, cross-linking B7-DC with the monoclonal antibody sHIgM12 directly potentiates dendritic cell (DC) function by enhancing DC presentation of major histocompatibility complex-peptide complexes, promoting DC survival; and increasing secretion of interleukin (IL)-12p70, a key T helper cell type 1 promoting cytokine. Furthermore, ex vivo treatment of DCs or systemic treatment of mice with sHIgM12 increases the number of transplanted DCs that reach draining lymph nodes and increases the ability of lymph node APCs to activate naive T cells. Systemic administration of the antibody has an equivalent effect on DCs transferred at a distant site. These findings implicate B7-DC expressed on DCs in bidirectional communication. In addition to the established costimulatory and inhibitory functions associated with B7-DC, this molecule can also function as a conduit for extracellular signals to DCs modifying DC functions.