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Front Immunol. 2018 Aug 28;9:1949. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01949. eCollection 2018.

CRISPR/Cas9 Immunoengineering of Hoxb8-Immortalized Progenitor Cells for Revealing CCR7-Mediated Dendritic Cell Signaling and Migration Mechanisms in vivo.

Author information

1
Institute of Immunology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
2
Institute of Experimental Hematology, REBIRTH Cluster of Excellence, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Abstract

To present antigens to cognate T cells, dendritic cells (DCs) exploit the chemokine receptor CCR7 to travel from peripheral tissue via afferent lymphatic vessels to directly enter draining lymph nodes through the floor of the subcapsular sinus. Here, we combined unlimited proliferative capacity of conditionally Hoxb8-immortalized hematopoietic progenitor cells with CRISPR/Cas9 technology to create a powerful experimental system to investigate DC migration and function. Hematopoietic progenitor cells from the bone marrow of Cas9-transgenic mice were conditionally immortalized by lentiviral transduction introducing a doxycycline-regulated form of the transcription factor Hoxb8 (Cas9-Hoxb8 cells). These cells could be stably cultured for weeks in the presence of doxycycline and puromycin, allowing us to introduce additional genetic modifications applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Importantly, modified Cas9-Hoxb8 cells retained their potential to differentiate in vitro into myeloid cells, and GM-CSF-differentiated Cas9-Hoxb8 cells showed the classical phenotype of GM-CSF-differentiated bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. Following intralymphatic delivery Cas9-Hoxb8 DCs entered the lymph node in a CCR7-dependent manner. Finally, we used two-photon microscopy and imaged Cas9-Hoxb8 DCs that expressed the genetic Ca2+ sensor GCaMP6S to visualize in real-time chemokine-induced Ca2+ signaling of lymph-derived DCs entering the LN parenchyma. Altogether, our study not only allows mechanistic insights in DC migration in vivo, but also provides a platform for the immunoengineering of DCs that, in combination with two-photon imaging, can be exploited to further dissect DC dynamics in vivo.

KEYWORDS:

CCR7; CRISPR/Cas9; Hoxb8; calcium signaling; dendritic cells; immortalization; migration

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