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J Immunol. 2006 Nov 1;177(9):5829-39.

Receptor cross-linking on human plasmacytoid dendritic cells leads to the regulation of IFN-alpha production.

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New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) are the natural type I IFN-producing cells that produce large amounts of IFN-alpha in response to viral stimulation. During attempts to isolate PDC from human PBMC, we observed that cross-linking a variety of cell surface receptors, including blood DC Ag (BDCA)-2, BDCA-4, CD4, or CD123 with Abs and immunobeads on PDC leads to inhibition of IFN-alpha production in response to HSV. To understand the mechanisms involved, a number of parameters were investigated. Cross-linking did not inhibit endocytosis of soluble Ag by PDC. Flow cytometry for annexin V and activated caspase-3 indicated that PDC are not undergoing apoptosis after receptor cross-linking. Cross-linking of CD123, but not the other receptors, caused the up-regulation of costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86, as well as the down-regulation of CD62L, indicating PDC maturation. Thus, anti-CD123 Ab may be acting similar to the natural ligand, IL-3. Anti-phosphotyrosine Ab, as well as Ab to the IFN regulatory factor, IRF-7, was used in intracellular flow cytometry to elucidate the signaling pathways involved. Tyrosine phosphorylation occurred after cross-linking BDCA-2 and BDCA-4, but not CD4. Cross-linking did not affect IRF-7 levels in PDC, however, cross-linking BDCA-2, BDCA-4, and CD4, but not CD123, inhibited the ability of IRF-7 to translocate to the nucleus. Taken together, these results suggest that cross-linking BDCA-2, BDCA-4, and CD4 on PDC regulates IFN-alpha production at the level of IRF-7, while the decrease in IFN-alpha production after CD123 cross-linking is due to stimulation of the IL-3R and induction of PDC maturation.

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