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Infect Immun. Oct 2007; 75(10): 5059–5067.
Published online Jul 9, 2007. doi:  10.1128/IAI.00153-07
PMCID: PMC2044529

Slc11a1, Formerly Nramp1, Is Expressed in Dendritic Cells and Influences Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II Expression and Antigen-Presenting Cell Function


Solute carrier family 11 member a1 (Slc11a1; formerly Nramp1) encodes a late endosomal/lysosomal protein/divalent cation transporter that regulates iron homeostasis in macrophages. During macrophage activation, Slc11a1 has multiple pleiotropic effects on gene regulation and function, including gamma interferon-induced class II expression and antigen-presenting cell function. The wild-type allele at Slc11a1 has been associated with a bias in Th1 cell function in vivo, which is beneficial in resistance to infection against intracellular macrophage pathogens but detrimental in contributing to development of type 1 diabetes. The extent to which this depends on macrophage versus dendritic cell (DC) function is not known. Here we show that Slc11a1 is expressed in late endosomes and/or lysosomes of CD11c+ DCs. DCs from mutant and congenic wild-type mice upregulate interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IL-10 mRNA in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, but the ratio of IL-10 to IL-12 is higher in unstimulated DCs and DCs stimulated for 15 h with LPS from mutant mice than from wild-type mice. DCs from wild-type mice upregulate major histocompatibility complex class II in response to LPS more efficiently than DCs from mutant mice. Unstimulated DCs from wild-type and mutant mice present ovalbumin (OVA) peptide with an efficiency equivalent to that of an OVA-specific CD4 T-cell line, but DCs from wild-type mice are more efficient at processing and presenting OVA or Leishmania activator of cell kinase (LACK) protein to OVA- and LACK-specific T cells. These data indicate that wild-type Slc11a1 expressed in DCs may play a role both in determining resistance to infectious disease and in susceptibility to autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes.

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