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Nat Immunol. 2001 Sep;2(9):882-8.

Inducible IL-2 production by dendritic cells revealed by global gene expression analysis.

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University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Biotechnology and Bioscience, Piazza della Scienza 2, Milan, Italy.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are strong activators of primary T cell responses. Their priming ability is acquired upon encounter with maturation stimuli. To identify the genes that are differentially expressed upon maturation induced by exposure to Gram-negative bacteria, a kinetic study of DC gene expression was done with microarrays representing 11,000 genes and ESTs (expressed sequence tags). Approximately 3000 differentially expressed transcripts were identified. We found that functional interleukin 2 (IL-2) mRNA, which gave rise to IL-2 production, was transiently up-regulated at early time-points after bacterial encounter. In contrast, macrophages did not produce IL-2 upon bacterial stimulation. Thus, IL-2 is an additional key cytokine that confers unique T cell stimulatory capacity to DCs.

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