Theranostics 2022; 12(13):5888-5913. doi:10.7150/thno.75904 This issue


Antigen transfer and its effect on vaccine-induced immune amplification and tolerance

Yingying Shi#, Yichao Lu#, Jian You

College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University, 866 Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou 310058, Zhejiang, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Shi Y, Lu Y, You J. Antigen transfer and its effect on vaccine-induced immune amplification and tolerance. Theranostics 2022; 12(13):5888-5913. doi:10.7150/thno.75904. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Antigen transfer refers to the process of intercellular information exchange, where antigenic components including nucleic acids, antigen proteins/peptides and peptide-major histocompatibility complexes (p-MHCs) are transmitted from donor cells to recipient cells at the thymus, secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs), intestine, allergic sites, allografts, pathological lesions and vaccine injection sites via trogocytosis, gap junctions, tunnel nanotubes (TNTs), or extracellular vesicles (EVs). In the context of vaccine inoculation, antigen transfer is manipulated by the vaccine type and administration route, which consequently influences, even alters the immunological outcome, i.e., immune amplification and tolerance. Mainly focused on dendritic cells (DCs)-based antigen receptors, this review systematically introduces the biological process, molecular basis and clinical manifestation of antigen transfer.

Keywords: antigen transfer, DCs-based receptor, vaccine, immune amplification, immune tolerance