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Annu Rev Immunol. 2015;33:563-606. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-020711-075049. Epub 2015 Feb 4.

The varieties of immunological experience: of pathogens, stress, and dendritic cells.

Author information

1
Emory Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30329; email: bpulend@emory.edu.

Abstract

In the 40 years since their discovery, dendritic cells (DCs) have been recognized as central players in immune regulation. DCs sense microbial stimuli through pathogen-recognition receptors (PRRs) and decode, integrate, and present information derived from such stimuli to T cells, thus stimulating immune responses. DCs can also regulate the quality of immune responses. Several functionally specialized subsets of DCs exist, but DCs also display functional plasticity in response to diverse stimuli. In addition to sensing pathogens via PRRs, emerging evidence suggests that DCs can also sense stress signals, such as amino acid starvation, through ancient stress and nutrient sensing pathways, to stimulate adaptive immunity. Here, I discuss these exciting advances in the context of a historic perspective on the discovery of DCs and their role in immune regulation. I conclude with a discussion of emerging areas in DC biology in the systems immunology era and suggest that the impact of DCs on immunity can be usefully contextualized in a hierarchy-of-organization model in which DCs, their receptors and signaling networks, cell-cell interactions, tissue microenvironment, and the host macroenvironment represent different levels of the hierarchy. Immunity or tolerance can then be represented as a complex function of each of these hierarchies.

KEYWORDS:

Th responses; dendritic cells; innate immunity; pathogens; stress response

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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