Genetic tagging shows increased frequency and longevity of antigen-presenting, skin-derived dendritic cells in vivo

Nat Immunol. 2003 Sep;4(9):907-12. doi: 10.1038/ni962. Epub 2003 Aug 10.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are key regulators of immune responses that activate naive antigen-specific T lymphocytes. In draining lymph nodes, antigen-bearing DCs are reported to be rare and short-lived. How such small numbers of short-lived DCs can activate rare antigen-specific T cells is unclear. Here we show that after immunization of mouse skins by gene gun, the number of antigen-bearing DCs that migrate to draining lymph node is 100-fold higher than previously estimated and that they persist for approximately 2 weeks. The substantial frequency and longevity of DCs in situ ensures ample antigen presentation and stimulation for the rare antigen-specific T cells in draining lymph nodes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / genetics
  • Biolistics
  • CD11c Antigen / immunology
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / genetics
  • Immunization / methods
  • Kinetics
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • CD11c Antigen
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • immediate-early proteins, cytomegalovirus