IPC: professional type 1 interferon-producing cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cell precursors

Annu Rev Immunol. 2005:23:275-306. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.23.021704.115633.


Type 1 interferon-(alpha, beta, omega)-producing cells (IPCs), also known as plasmacytoid dendritic cell precursors (pDCs), represent 0.2%-0.8% of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in both humans and mice. IPCs display plasma cell morphology, selectively express Toll-like receptor (TLR)-7 and TLR9, and are specialized in rapidly secreting massive amounts of type 1 interferon following viral stimulation. IPCs can promote the function of natural killer cells, B cells, T cells, and myeloid DCs through type 1 interferons during an antiviral immune response. At a later stage of viral infection, IPCs differentiate into a unique type of mature dendritic cell, which directly regulates the function of T cells and thus links innate and adaptive immune responses. After more than two decades of effort by researchers, IPCs finally claim their place in the hematopoietic chart as the most important cell type in antiviral innate immunity. Understanding IPC biology holds future promise for developing cures for infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interferon Type I / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-12 / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Plasma Cells / cytology
  • Plasma Cells / immunology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • Toll-Like Receptors


  • Interferon Type I
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • TLR7 protein, human
  • TLR9 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Interleukin-12