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1.  The XC chemokine receptor 1 is a conserved selective marker of mammalian cells homologous to mouse CD8α+ dendritic cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(6):1283-1292.
Human BDCA3+ dendritic cells (DCs) were suggested to be homologous to mouse CD8α+ DCs. We demonstrate that human BDCA3+ DCs are more efficient than their BDCA1+ counterparts or plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in cross-presenting antigen and activating CD8+ T cells, which is similar to mouse CD8α+ DCs as compared with CD11b+ DCs or pDCs, although with more moderate differences between human DC subsets. Yet, no specific marker was known to be shared between homologous DC subsets across species. We found that XC chemokine receptor 1 (XCR1) is specifically expressed and active in mouse CD8α+, human BDCA3+, and sheep CD26+ DCs and is conserved across species. The mRNA encoding the XCR1 ligand chemokine (C motif) ligand 1 (XCL1) is selectively expressed in natural killer (NK) and CD8+ T lymphocytes at steady-state and is enhanced upon activation. Moreover, the Xcl1 mRNA is selectively expressed at high levels in central memory compared with naive CD8+ T lymphocytes. Finally, XCR1−/− mice have decreased early CD8+ T cell responses to Listeria monocytogenes infection, which is associated with higher bacterial loads early in infection. Therefore, XCR1 constitutes the first conserved specific marker for cell subsets homologous to mouse CD8α+ DCs in higher vertebrates and promotes their ability to activate early CD8+ T cell defenses against an intracellular pathogenic bacteria.
PMCID: PMC2882835  PMID: 20479118
2.  BDCA2/FcɛRIγ Complex Signals through a Novel BCR-Like Pathway in Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells 
PLoS Biology  2007;5(10):e248.
Dendritic cells are equipped with lectin receptors to sense the extracellular environment and modulate cellular responses. Human plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) uniquely express blood dendritic cell antigen 2 (BDCA2) protein, a C-type lectin lacking an identifiable signaling motif. We demonstrate here that BDCA2 forms a complex with the transmembrane adapter FcɛRIγ. Through pathway analysis, we identified a comprehensive signaling machinery in human pDCs, similar to that which operates downstream of the B cell receptor (BCR), which is distinct from the system involved in T cell receptor (TCR) signaling. BDCA2 crosslinking resulted in the activation of the BCR-like cascade, which potently suppressed the ability of pDCs to produce type I interferon and other cytokines in response to Toll-like receptor ligands. Therefore, by associating with FcɛRIγ, BDCA2 activates a novel BCR-like signaling pathway to regulate the immune functions of pDCs.
Author Summary
Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized sentinels in the immune system that detect invading pathogens and, upon activation, initiate immune responses. DCs express C-type lectin receptors on their surface, which facilitate antigen capture. A distinct population of DCs, called plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), display an extraordinary ability to rapidly make huge amounts of antiviral interferon (IFN) against viral infections. Human pDCs uniquely express a C-type lectin named BDCA2 that potently regulates pDCs function, yet the mechanism of how BDCA2 transduces signals is unknown. We show here that BDCA2 forms a complex with the transmembrane adapter FcɛRIγ. Using signaling pathway analysis, we discovered a comprehensive signaling machinery in human pDCs, similar to that which operates downstream of B cell receptors (BCRs), but distinct from the pathway involved in T cell receptor signaling. By associating with FcɛRIγ, BDCA2 activates a novel BCR-like signaling pathway to regulate the immune functions of pDCs. Since several pDC receptors use this pathway to modulate IFN and cytokine responses, these findings will guide more studies on how pDCs are regulated. Such mechanisms may lead to potential therapeutic interventions in autoimmune diseases involving hyperactivated pDCs, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and psoriasis.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are renowned for their production of type 1 interferon in response to viral infection, which is signified by Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation. Here, blood dendritic cell antigen 2(BDCA2), a C-type lectin receptor expressed uniquely on pDCs, is shown to block the ultimate effectors of TLR signaling via a novel pathway.
PMCID: PMC1971124  PMID: 17850179
3.  BDCA-2, a Novel Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell–specific Type II C-type Lectin, Mediates Antigen Capture and Is a Potent Inhibitor of Interferon α/β Induction 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2001;194(12):1823-1834.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells are present in lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissue and contribute substantially to both innate and adaptive immunity. Recently, we have described several monoclonal antibodies that recognize a plasmacytoid dendritic cell-specific antigen, which we have termed BDCA-2. Molecular cloning of BDCA-2 revealed that BDCA-2 is a novel type II C-type lectin, which shows 50.7% sequence identity at the amino acid level to its putative murine ortholog, the murine dendritic cell–associated C-type lectin 2. Anti–BDCA-2 monoclonal antibodies are rapidly internalized and efficiently presented to T cells, indicating that BDCA-2 could play a role in ligand internalization and presentation. Furthermore, ligation of BDCA-2 potently suppresses induction of interferon α/β production in plasmacytoid dendritic cells, presumably by a mechanism dependent on calcium mobilization and protein-tyrosine phosphorylation by src-family protein-tyrosine kinases. Inasmuch as production of interferon α/β by plasmacytoid dendritic cells is considered to be a major pathophysiological factor in systemic lupus erythematosus, triggering of BDCA-2 should be evaluated as therapeutic strategy for blocking production of interferon α/β in systemic lupus erythematosus patients.
PMCID: PMC2193584  PMID: 11748283
interferon type I; monoclonal antibodies; magnetic cell sorting; interferon inducers; systemic lupus erythematosus
4.  CD2AP/SHIP1 Complex Positively Regulates Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Receptor Signaling by Inhibiting the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Cbl 
The human plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) receptor BDCA2 forms a complex with the adaptor FcεR1γ to activate an ITAM-signaling cascade. BDCA2 receptor signaling negatively regulates the TLR7/9-mediated type 1 IFN responses in pDCs, which may play a key role in controlling self-DNA/RNA–induced autoimmunity. We report in this article that CD2-associated adaptor protein (CD2AP), which is highly expressed in human pDCs, positively regulates BDCA2/FcεR1γ receptor signaling. By immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry analyses, we found that CD2AP bound to SHIP1. Knockdown of CD2AP or SHIP1 reduced the BDCA2/FcεR1γ-mediated ITAM signaling and blocked its inhibition of TLR9-mediated type 1 IFN production. Knockdown of CD2AP or SHIP1 also enhanced the ubiquitination and degradation of Syk and FcεR1γ that was mediated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl. This led us to discover that, upon BDCA2 cross-linking, the CD2AP/SHIP1 complex associated with Cbl and inhibited its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. In human primary pDCs, cross-linking of the BDCA2/FcεR1γ complex induced the recruitment of the CD2AP/SHIP1/Cbl complex to the plasma membrane of pDCs, where it colocalized with the BDCA2/FcεR1γ complex. Therefore, CD2AP positively regulates BDCA2/FcεR1γ signaling by forming a complex with SHIP1 to inhibit the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl.
PMCID: PMC3665352  PMID: 22706086
5.  Expression of the T Cell Receptor αβ on a CD123+ BDCA2+ HLA-DR+ Subpopulation in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e15997.
Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells (PDCs) infiltrating solid tumor tissues and draining lymph nodes of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) show an impaired immune response. In addition to an attenuated secretion of IFN-α little is known about other HNSCC-induced functional alterations in PDCs. Particular objectives in this project were to gain new insights regarding tumor-induced phenotypical and functional alterations in the PDC population. We showed by FACS analysis and RT-PCR that HNSCC orchestrates an as yet unknown subpopulation exhibiting functional autonomy in-vitro and in-vivo besides bearing phenotypical resemblance to PDCs and T cells. A subset, positive for the PDC markers CD123, BDCA-2, HLA-DR and the T cell receptor αβ (TCR-αβ) was significantly induced subsequent to stimulation with HNSCC in-vitro (p = 0.009) and also present in metastatic lymph nodes in-vivo. This subgroup could be functionally distinguished due to an enhanced production of IL-2 (p = 0.02), IL-6 (p = 0.0007) and TGF-β (not significant). Furthermore, after exposure to HNSCC cells, mRNA levels revealed a D-J-beta rearrangement of the TCR-beta chain besides a strong enhancement of the CD3ε chain in the PDC population. Our data indicate an interface between the PDC and T cell lineage. These findings will improve our understanding of phenotypical and functional intricacies concerning the very heterogeneous PDC population in-vivo.
PMCID: PMC3019173  PMID: 21264308
6.  Dendritic Cell Subtypes from Lymph Nodes and Blood Show Contrasted Gene Expression Programs upon Bluetongue Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(16):9333-9343.
Human and animal hemorrhagic viruses initially target dendritic cells (DCs). It has been proposed, but not documented, that both plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and conventional DCs (cDCs) may participate in the cytokine storm encountered in these infections. In order to evaluate the contribution of DCs in hemorrhagic virus pathogenesis, we performed a genome-wide expression analysis during infection by Bluetongue virus (BTV), a double-stranded RNA virus that induces hemorrhagic fever in sheep and initially infects cDCs. Both pDCs and cDCs accumulated in regional lymph nodes and spleen during BTV infection. The gene response profiles were performed at the onset of the disease and markedly differed with the DC subtypes and their lymphoid organ location. An integrative knowledge-based analysis revealed that blood pDCs displayed a gene signature related to activation of systemic inflammation and permeability of vasculature. In contrast, the gene profile of pDCs and cDCs in lymph nodes was oriented to inhibition of inflammation, whereas spleen cDCs did not show a clear functional orientation. These analyses indicate that tissue location and DC subtype affect the functional gene expression program induced by BTV and suggest the involvement of blood pDCs in the inflammation and plasma leakage/hemorrhage during BTV infection in the real natural host of the virus. These findings open the avenue to target DCs for therapeutic interventions in viral hemorrhagic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3754054  PMID: 23785206
7.  Superior antigen cross-presentation and XCR1 expression define human CD11c+CD141+ cells as homologues of mouse CD8+ dendritic cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(6):1273-1281.
In recent years, human dendritic cells (DCs) could be subdivided into CD304+ plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and conventional DCs (cDCs), the latter encompassing the CD1c+, CD16+, and CD141+ DC subsets. To date, the low frequency of these DCs in human blood has essentially prevented functional studies defining their specific contribution to antigen presentation. We have established a protocol for an effective isolation of pDC and cDC subsets to high purity. Using this approach, we show that CD141+ DCs are the only cells in human blood that express the chemokine receptor XCR1 and respond to the specific ligand XCL1 by Ca2+ mobilization and potent chemotaxis. More importantly, we demonstrate that CD141+ DCs excel in cross-presentation of soluble or cell-associated antigen to CD8+ T cells when directly compared with CD1c+ DCs, CD16+ DCs, and pDCs from the same donors. Both in their functional XCR1 expression and their effective processing and presentation of exogenous antigen in the context of major histocompatibility complex class I, human CD141+ DCs correspond to mouse CD8+ DCs, a subset known for superior antigen cross-presentation in vivo. These data define CD141+ DCs as professional antigen cross-presenting DCs in the human.
PMCID: PMC2882837  PMID: 20479115
8.  Continuous expression of the transcription factor E2-2 maintains the cell fate of mature plasmacytoid dendritic cells 
Immunity  2010;33(6):905-916.
The interferon-producing plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) share common progenitors with antigen-presenting classical dendritic cells (cDCs), yet they possess distinct morphology and molecular features resembling those of lymphocytes. It is unclear whether the unique cell fate of pDCs is actively maintained in the steady state. We report that the deletion of transcription factor E2-2 from mature peripheral pDCs caused their spontaneous differentiation into cells with cDC properties. This included the loss of pDC markers, increase in MHC class II expression and T cell priming capacity, acquisition of dendritic morphology and induction of cDC signature genes. Genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed direct binding of E2-2 to key pDC-specific and lymphoid genes, as well as to certain genes enriched in cDCs. Thus, E2-2 actively maintains the cell fate of mature pDCs and opposes the “default” cDC fate, in part through direct regulation of lineage-specific gene expression programs.
PMCID: PMC3010277  PMID: 21145760
9.  Similar antigen cross-presentation capacity and phagocytic functions in all freshly isolated human lymphoid organ–resident dendritic cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(5):1035-1047.
Tonsil-resident BDCA1+ DCs, BDCA3+ DCs, and pDCs all cross-present antigen efficiently.
Dendritic cells (DCs) represent a heterogeneous population of antigen-presenting cells that initiate and orient immune responses in secondary lymphoid organs. In mice, lymphoid organ–resident CD8+ DCs are specialized at cross-presentation and have developed specific adaptations of their endocytic pathway (high pH, low degradation, and high export to the cytosol). In humans, blood BDCA3+ DCs were recently shown to be the homologues of mouse CD8+ DCs. They were also proposed to cross-present antigens more efficiently than other blood DC subsets after in vitro activation, suggesting that in humans cross-presentation is restricted to certain DC subsets. The DCs that cross-present antigen physiologically, however, are the ones present in lymphoid organs. Here, we show that freshly isolated tonsil-resident BDCA1+ DCs, BDCA3+ DCs, and pDCs all cross-present soluble antigen efficiently, as compared to macrophages, in the absence of activation. In addition, BDCA1+ and BDCA3+ DCs display similar phagosomal pH and similar production of reactive oxygen species in their phagosomes. All three DC subsets, in contrast to macrophages, also efficiently export internalized proteins to the cytosol. We conclude that all freshly isolated lymphoid organ–resident human DCs, but not macrophages, display high intrinsic cross-presentation capacity.
PMCID: PMC3646495  PMID: 23569327
10.  miR-22 Controls Irf8 mRNA Abundance and Murine Dendritic Cell Development 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52341.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as critical regulators of many cellular responses, through the action of miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC)- or miRNA ribonucleoprotein complex (miRNP)-mediated gene repression. Here we studied the role of miRNAs in the development of dendritic cells (DCs), an important immune cell type that is divided into conventional DC (cDC) and plasmacytoid DC (pDC) subsets. We found that miR-22 was highly expressed in mouse CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDCs compared to pDCs, and was induced in DC progenitor cell cultures with GM-CSF, which stimulate CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDC differentiation. Enforced overexpression of miR-22 during DC development enhanced CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDC generation at the expense of pDCs, while miR-22 knockdown demonstrated opposite effects. Moreover, overexpression and knockdown of miR-22 showed significant effects on the mRNA abundance of Irf8, which encodes the transcription factor IRF8 that plays essential roles in DC development. Luciferase reporter assays confirmed that miR-22 binds directly to the 3′UTR of the mouse Irf8 mRNA. Collectively, these results suggest that miR-22 targets Irf8 mRNA for posttranscriptional repression and controls DC subset differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3522651  PMID: 23251709
11.  Antigen delivery to early endosomes eliminates the superiority of human blood BDCA3+ dendritic cells at cross presentation 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(5):1049-1063.
Human BDCA3 DCs are superior to BDCA1 DCs at antigen cross presentation when delivered to late endosomes and lysosomes but not when delivered to early endosomes.
Human BDCA3+ dendritic cells (DCs), the proposed equivalent to mouse CD8α+ DCs, are widely thought to cross present antigens on MHC class I (MHCI) molecules more efficiently than other DC populations. If true, it is unclear whether this reflects specialization for cross presentation or a generally enhanced ability to present antigens on MHCI. We compared presentation by BDCA3+ DCs with BDCA1+ DCs using a quantitative approach whereby antigens were targeted to distinct intracellular compartments by receptor-mediated internalization. As expected, BDCA3+ DCs were superior at cross presentation of antigens delivered to late endosomes and lysosomes by uptake of anti-DEC205 antibody conjugated to antigen. This difference may reflect a greater efficiency of antigen escape from BDCA3+ DC lysosomes. In contrast, if antigens were delivered to early endosomes through CD40 or CD11c, BDCA1+ DCs were as efficient at cross presentation as BDCA3+ DCs. Because BDCA3+ DCs and BDCA1+ DCs were also equivalent at presenting peptides and endogenously synthesized antigens, BDCA3+ DCs are not likely to possess mechanisms for cross presentation that are specific to this subset. Thus, multiple DC populations may be comparably effective at presenting exogenous antigens to CD8+ T cells as long as the antigen is delivered to early endocytic compartments.
PMCID: PMC3646496  PMID: 23569326
12.  Blood dendritic cells suppress NK cell function and increase the risk of leukemia relapse after hematopoietic cell transplantation 
NK cells play an important role in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) and in cross talk with dendritic cells (DCs) to induce primary T cell response against infection. Therefore, we hypothesized that blood DCs should augment NK cell function and reduce the risk of leukemia relapse after HCT. To test this hypothesis, we conducted laboratory and clinical studies in parallel. We found that although phenotypically NK cells could induce DC maturation and DCs could in turn increase activating marker expression on NK cells, paradoxically, both BDCA1+ myeloid DCs and BDCA4+ plasmacytoid DCs suppressed the function of NK cells. Patients who received an HLA-haploidentical graft containing larger number of BDCA1+ DCs or BDCA4+ DCs had a higher risk of leukemia relapse and poorer survival. Further experiments indicated that the potent inhibition on NK cell cytokine production and cytotoxicity was mediated in part through the secretion of IL-10 by BDCA1+ DCs and IL-6 by BDCA4+ DCs. These results have significant implications for future HCT strategies.
PMCID: PMC3047596  PMID: 20977942
Alloegenic hematopoietic cell transplantation; pediatric leukemia; human NK cell; dendritic cell
13.  Plasmacytoid dendritic cells infiltrate the skin in positive tuberculin skin test indurations 
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are rarely present in normal skin but have been shown to infiltrate lesions of infections or autoimmune disorders. Here, we report that several DC subsets including CD123+ BDCA-2/CD303+ pDC accumulate in the dermis in indurations induced by the tuberculin skin test (TST), used to screen immune sensitization by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although the purified protein derivate (PPD) used in the TST did not itself induce pDC recruitment or IFNα production, the positive skin reactions showed high expression of the IFNα inducible protein MxA. In contrast, the local immune response to PPD was associated with substantial cell death and high expression of the cationic antimicrobial peptide LL37, which together can provide a means for pDC activation and IFNα production. In vitro, pDC showed low uptake of PPD compared to CD11c+ and BDCA-3/CD141+ myeloid DC subsets. Furthermore, supernatants from pDC activated with LL37-DNA complexes reduced the high PPD uptake in myeloid DC as well as decreased their capacity to activate T cell proliferation. Infiltrating pDC in the TST reaction site may thus have a regulatory effect upon the antigen processing and presentation functions of surrounding potent myeloid DC subsets to limit potentially detrimental and excessive immune stimulation.
PMCID: PMC3366108  PMID: 21850028
dendritic cells; plasmacytoid dendritic cells; skin; tuberculin skin test; LL37; delayed hypersensitivity reaction; PPD
14.  Chemerin expression marks early psoriatic skin lesions and correlates with plasmacytoid dendritic cell recruitment 
Psoriasis is a type I interferon-driven T cell–mediated disease characterized by the recruitment of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) into the skin. The molecules involved in pDC accumulation in psoriasis lesions are unknown. Chemerin is the only inflammatory chemotactic factor that is directly active on human blood pDC in vitro. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of the chemerin/ChemR23 axis in the recruitment of pDC in psoriasis skin. Prepsoriatic skin adjacent to active lesions and early lesions were characterized by a strong expression of chemerin in the dermis and by the presence of CD15+ neutrophils and CD123+/BDCA-2+/ChemR23+ pDC. Conversely, skin from chronic plaques showed low chemerin expression, segregation of neutrophils to epidermal microabscesses, and few pDC in the dermis. Chemerin expression was localized mainly in fibroblasts, mast cells, and endothelial cells. Fibroblasts cultured from skin of psoriatic lesions expressed higher levels of chemerin messenger RNA and protein than fibroblasts from uninvolved psoriatic skin or healthy donors and promoted pDC migration in vitro in a chemerin-dependent manner. Therefore, chemerin expression specifically marks the early phases of evolving skin psoriatic lesions and is temporally strictly associated with pDC. These results support a role for the chemerin/ChemR23 axis in the early phases of psoriasis development.
PMCID: PMC2626680  PMID: 19114666
15.  The Frequency of BDCA3-Positive Dendritic Cells Is Increased in the Peripheral Circulation of Kenyan Children with Severe Malaria▿  
Infection and Immunity  2006;74(12):6700-6706.
The ability of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to adhere to host endothelial cells via receptor molecules such as ICAM-1 and CD36 is considered a hallmark for the development of severe malaria syndromes. These molecules are also expressed on leukocytes such as dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells that are crucial for the initiation of adaptive immune responses. In many human diseases, their frequency and function is perturbed. We analyzed the frequency of peripheral blood dendritic cell subsets and the plasma concentrations of interleukin-10 (IL-10) and IL-12 in Kenyan children with severe malaria and during convalescence and related these parameters to the adhesion phenotype of the acute parasite isolates. The frequency of CD1c+ dendritic cells in children with acute malaria was comparable to that in healthy controls, but the frequency of BDCA3+ dendritic cells was significantly increased. Analysis of the adhesion phenotypes of parasite isolates revealed that adhesion to ICAM-1 was associated with the frequency of peripheral blood CD1c+ dendritic cells, whereas the adhesion of infected erythrocytes to CD36 correlated with high concentrations of IL-10 and low concentrations of IL-12 in plasma.
PMCID: PMC1698077  PMID: 17000725
16.  Lesional and Nonlesional Skin From Patients With Untreated Juvenile Dermatomyositis Displays Increased Numbers of Mast Cells and Mature Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2010;62(9):2813-2822.
To investigate the distribution of mast cells and dendritic cell (DC) subsets in paired muscle and skin (lesional/nonlesional) from untreated children with juvenile dermatomyositis (DM).
Muscle and skin biopsy samples (4 skin biopsy samples with active rash) from 7 patients with probable/definite juvenile DM were compared with muscle and skin samples from 10 healthy pediatric controls. Mast cell distribution and number were assessed by toluidine blue staining and analyzed by Student’s t-test. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to identify mature DCs, myeloid DCs (MDCs), and plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs) by using antibodies against DC-LAMP, blood dendritic cell antigen 1 (BDCA-1), and BDCA-2, respectively. Myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) staining indicated active type I interferon (IFN) signaling; positive staining was scored semiquantitatively and analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test.
Both inflamed and nonlesional skin from patients with juvenile DM contained more mast cells than did skin from pediatric controls (P = 0.029), and comparable numbers of mast cells were present in lesional and nonlesional skin. Interestingly, mast cell numbers were greater in skin than in paired muscle tissue from patients with juvenile DM (P = 0.014) and were not increased in muscle from patients with juvenile DM compared with control muscle. Both muscle and skin from patients with juvenile DM showed more mature PDCs and MxA staining than did their corresponding control tissues (P < 0.05). In both muscle and skin from patients with juvenile DM and in pediatric control muscle, there were fewer MDCs than PDCs, and the distributions of MDCs and PDCs were similar in pediatric control skin samples.
The identification of mast cells in skin (irrespective of rash) from patients with juvenile DM, but not in paired muscle tissue, suggests that they have a specific role in juvenile DM skin pathophysiology. In skin from patients with juvenile DM, increased numbers of PDCs and increased expression of type I IFN–induced protein suggest a selective influence on T cell differentiation and subsequent effector function.
PMCID: PMC3312790  PMID: 20506305
17.  The Signal Transducer STAT5 Inhibits Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Development by Suppressing Transcription Factor IRF8 
Immunity  2008;28(4):509-520.
The development of distinct dendritic cell (DC) subsets is regulated by cytokines. Flt3-ligand- (Flt3L) is necessary for plasmacytoid (pDC) and conventional DC (cDC) maturation. GM-CSF inhibits Flt3L-driven pDC production while promoting cDC growth. We show that GM-CSF selectively utilizes STAT5 to block Flt3L-dependent pDC development from the lineage-negative, Flt3+ (lin−/Flt3+) bone marrow subset. STAT3, by contrast, is necessary for expansion of DC progenitors but not pDC maturation. In vivo, STAT5 suppresses pDC formation during repopulation of the DC compartment following bone marrow ablation. GM-CSF/STAT5 signaling rapidly extinguishes pDC-related gene expression in lin−/Flt3+ progenitors. Inspection of the Irf8 promoter revealed that STAT5 is recruited during GM-CSF-mediated suppression, indicating STAT5 directly inhibits transcription of this critical pDC gene. Our results therefore show that GM-CSF controls the production of pDCs by employing STAT5 to suppress IRF8 and the pDC transcriptional network in lin−/Flt3+ progenitors.
PMCID: PMC2864148  PMID: 18342552
plasmacytoid dendritic cells; GM-CSF; STAT5; development; FLT3
18.  Characterization of human DNGR-1+ BDCA3+ leukocytes as putative equivalents of mouse CD8α+ dendritic cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(6):1261-1271.
In mouse, a subset of dendritic cells (DCs) known as CD8α+ DCs has emerged as an important player in the regulation of T cell responses and a promising target in vaccination strategies. However, translation into clinical protocols has been hampered by the failure to identify CD8α+ DCs in humans. Here, we characterize a population of human DCs that expresses DNGR-1 (CLEC9A) and high levels of BDCA3 and resembles mouse CD8α+ DCs in phenotype and function. We describe the presence of such cells in the spleens of humans and humanized mice and report on a protocol to generate them in vitro. Like mouse CD8α+ DCs, human DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs express Necl2, CD207, BATF3, IRF8, and TLR3, but not CD11b, IRF4, TLR7, or (unlike CD8α+ DCs) TLR9. DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs respond to poly I:C and agonists of TLR8, but not of TLR7, and produce interleukin (IL)-12 when given innate and T cell–derived signals. Notably, DNGR-1+ BDCA3+ DCs from in vitro cultures efficiently internalize material from dead cells and can cross-present exogenous antigens to CD8+ T cells upon treatment with poly I:C. The characterization of human DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs and the ability to grow them in vitro opens the door for exploiting this subset in immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2882845  PMID: 20479117
19.  Development of mature and functional human myeloid subsets in HSC engrafted NOD/SCID/IL2rγKO mice 
While physiological development of human lymphoid subsets has become well documented in humanized mice, in vivo development of human myeloid subsets in a xenotransplantation setting has remained unevaluated. Therefore, we investigated in vivo differentiation and function of human myeloid subsets in NOD/SCID/IL2rγnull (NSG) mouse recipients transplanted with purified lineage−CD34+CD38− cord blood hematopoietic stem cells. At four to six months post-transplantation, we identified the development of human neutrophils, basophils, mast cells, monocytes, as well as conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the recipient hematopoietic organs. The tissue distribution and morphology of these human myeloid cells were similar to those identified in humans. Following cytokine stimulation in vitro, phosphorylation of STAT molecules was observed in neutrophils and monocytes. In vivo administration of human G-CSF resulted in the recruitment of human myeloid cells into the recipient circulation. Flow cytometry and confocal imaging demonstrated that human bone marrow monocytes and alveolar macrophages in the recipients displayed intact phagocytic function. Human BM-derived monocytes/macrophages were further confirmed to exhibit phagocytosis and killing of Salmonella Typhimurium upon the IFN-γ stimulation. These findings demonstrate the development of mature and functionally intact human myeloid subsets in vivo in the NSG recipients. In vivo human myelopoiesis established in the NSG humanized mouse system may facilitate the investigation of human myeloid cell biology including in vivo analyses of infectious diseases and therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3370073  PMID: 22611244
Human; Stem Cells; Cell Differentiation
20.  Plasma Interleukin-18 and Dendritic Cells in Males with Psoriasis Vulgaris 
Mediators of Inflammation  2007;2007:61254.
Peripheral blood dendritic cells seem to play a crucial role in psoriatic inflammatory processes. The aim of our study is to investigate the relationship between plasma interleukin-18 (IL-18) levels and blood dendritic cells in psoriatic patients. IL-18 plasma levels were measured by ELISA. Phenotypes of dendritic cell subsets were analyzed by double-colour flow cytometry. Plasma IL-18 level in psoriatic males was significantly higher, whereas counts of BDCA-2+ cells were lower than in the control group. The myeloid/plasmacytoid ratio was significantly higher in the patient group compared to the control one. In the patient group, significant negative correlations between plasma IL-18 level and both the BDCA-1+ and BDCA-2+ counts were found. BDCA-1+ counts correlated negatively with percentage of skin involvement. IL-18 seems to play a role in psoriasis pathogenesis. The decreased counts of blood plasmacytoid DCs in psoriatic patients might result from IL-18 down-regulation of plasmacytoid DC precursor proliferation.
PMCID: PMC1892645  PMID: 17611614
21.  Plasmacytoid dendritic cells protect against atherosclerosis by tuning T cell proliferation and activity 
Circulation research  2011;109(12):1387-1395.
Unlike conventional dendritic cells (cDC), plasmacytoid DCs (pDC) are poor in antigen presentation and critical for type I interferon response. While proposed to be present in human atherosclerotic lesions, their role in atherosclerosis remains elusive.
To investigate the role of pDC in atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
We show that pDC are scarcely present in human atherosclerotic lesions, and almost absent in mouse plaques. Surprisingly, pDC depletion by 120G8 mAb administration was seen to promote plaque T cell accumulation and exacerbate lesion development and progression in LDLr−/− mice. PDC depletion was accompanied by increased CD4+ T cell proliferation, IFN-γ expression by splenic T cells and plasma IFN-γ levels. Lymphoid tissue pDC from atherosclerotic mice showed increased indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression and IDO blockage abrogated the pDC suppressive effect on T cell proliferation.
Our data reveal a protective role for pDC in atherosclerosis, possibly by dampening T cell proliferation and activity in peripheral lymphoid tissue, rendering pDC an interesting target for future therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3237962  PMID: 22021930
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells; atherosclerosis; immune tolerance; T cells
22.  Expression of High-Affinity IgE Receptor on Human Peripheral Blood Dendritic Cells in Children 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32556.
In a mouse model of viral induced atopic disease, expression of FcεRI on dendritic cells is critical. While adult human conventional (cDC) and plasmacytoid (pDC) dendritic cells have been shown to express FcεRI, it is not known if this receptor is expressed in childhood and how its expression is governed by IgE.
Following informed consent of subjects (n = 27, aged 12–188 months), peripheral blood was stained for surface expression of CD19, ILT7, CD1c, IgE, FcεRI and analyzed by flow cytometry (cDC: CD19− ILT7− CD1c+; pDC: CD19− ILT7+ CD1c−). Total and specific serum IgE levels to food and inhalant allergens were determined by ImmunoCAP, and the relationship between FcεRI expression on dendritic cells and sensitization, free IgE, cell bound IgE, and age was determined.
Independent of sensitization status, FcεRI expression was noted on cDC and pDC as early as 12 months of age. Serum IgE level correlated with expression of FcεRI on cDC, but not pDC. Based on the concentration of IgE, a complex relationship was found between surface bound IgE and expression of FcεRI on cDC. pDC exhibited a linear relationship of FcεRI expression and bound IgE that was consistent through all IgE concentrations.
In children, FcεRI expression on cDC and pDC is modulated differently by serum and cell bound IgE. IgE governance of FcεRI expression on cDC depends upon a complex relationship. Further studies are needed to determine the functional roles of FcεRI on cDC and pDC.
PMCID: PMC3285694  PMID: 22384272
23.  Plasmacytoid, conventional, and monocyte-derived dendritic cells undergo a profound and convergent genetic reprogramming during their maturation 
European Journal of Immunology  2013;43(7):1706-1715.
DCs express receptors sensing microbial, danger or cytokine signals, which when triggered in combination drive DC maturation and functional polarization. Maturation was proposed to result from a discrete number of modifications in conventional DCs (cDCs), in contrast to a cell-fate conversion in plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). cDC maturation is generally assessed by measuring cytokine production and membrane expression of MHC class II and co-stimulation molecules. pDC maturation complexity was demonstrated by functional genomics. Here, pDCs and cDCs were shown to undergo profound and convergent changes in their gene expression programs in vivo during viral infection. This observation was generalized to other stimulation conditions and DC subsets, by public microarray data analyses, PCR confirmation of selected gene expression profiles, and gene regulatory sequence bioinformatics analyses. Thus, maturation is a complex process similarly reshaping all DC subsets, including through the induction of a core set of NF-κB- or IFN-stimulated genes irrespective of stimuli.
PMCID: PMC3799015  PMID: 23553052
Dendritic cell subsets; Gene expression profiling; Human; Maturation; Mouse
24.  Genetic profiles of plasmacytoid (BDCA-4 expressing) DC subtypes-clues to DC subtype function in vivo 
Among the dendritic cell (DC) subsets, plasmacytoid DC’s (pDC) are thought to be important in the generation of both antiviral and antitumor responses. While pDC may be useful in developing dendritic cell-based tumor vaccines, the low frequency of these cells in the peripheral blood has hampered attempts to understand their biology. To provide better insight into the biology of pDC, we isolated these unperturbed cells from the peripheral blood of healthy donors in order to further characterize their gene expression. Using gene array technology we compared the genetic profiles of these cells to those of CD14+ monocytes isolated from the same donors and found several immune related genes upregulated in this cell population. This is the first description, to our knowledge, of gene expression in this subset of DCs obtained from the peripheral blood of adult human donors without exposure in vitro to cytokine or growth factors. Understanding the natural genetic profiles of this dendritic cell subtype as well as others such as the BDCA-1 expressing myeloid DCs may enable us to manipulate these cells ex-vivo to generate enhanced DC-based tumor vaccines inducing more robust antitumor responses.
PMCID: PMC3608935  PMID: 23497451
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells; Gene expression; Granzyme B
25.  Thymus-homing peripheral dendritic cells constitute two of the three major subsets of dendritic cells in the steady-state thymus 
Many dendritic cells (DCs) in the normal mouse thymus are generated intrathymically from common T cell/DC progenitors. However, our previous work suggested that at least 50% of thymic DCs originate independently of these progenitors. We now formally demonstrate by parabiotic, adoptive transfer, and developmental studies that two of the three major subsets of thymic DCs originate extrathymically and continually migrate to the thymus, where they occupy a finite number of microenvironmental niches. The thymus-homing DCs consisted of immature plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and the signal regulatory protein α–positive (Sirpα+) CD11b+ CD8α− subset of conventional DCs (cDCs), both of which could take up and transport circulating antigen to the thymus. The cDCs of intrathymic origin were mostly Sirpα− CD11b− CD8αhi cells. Upon arrival in the thymus, the migrant pDCs enlarged and up-regulated CD11c, major histocompatibility complex II (MHC II), and CD8α, but maintained their plasmacytoid morphology. In contrast, the migrant cDCs proliferated extensively, up-regulated CD11c, MHC II, and CD86, and expressed dendritic processes. The possible functional implications of these findings are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2699131  PMID: 19273629

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