Presentation of exogenous antigens loaded on major histocompatibility complex class I molecules by antigen presenting cells, termed cross-presentation, is essential for the induction of CD8+ T cells and is performed mainly by specialized dendritic cell subsets. Research into this field has described two main mechanisms of cross-presentation, the cytosolic pathway and the vacuolar pathway. As the first step in cross-presentation, surface receptors relating to cross-presentation are required in the recognition and uptake of Ags, which include C-type lectin receptors, immunoglobulin γ Fc region receptor, chemokine receptor, scavenger receptor etc. After uptake by the cells, there are also many molecules that enable Ags to participate in cross-presentation pathways. By this approach, exogenous Ags can induce CD8+ T cells into cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which is of great significance to induce antitumor and antiviral immune responses, and the molecular mechanism would facilitate the development of related adjuvants. However, the detailed mechanisms of cross-presentation still remain unknown. In this paper, some latest researches, including two major pathways, DC surface receptors and application prospects are summarized. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.