Ikaros is required for plasmacytoid dendritic cell differentiation

Blood. 2006 Dec 15;108(13):4025-34. doi: 10.1182/blood-2006-03-007757. Epub 2006 Aug 15.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are specialized DCs that produce high levels of type I IFN upon viral infection. Despite their key immunoregulatory role, little is known about pDC ontogeny or how developmental events regulate their function. We show that mice expressing low levels of the transcription factor Ikaros (Ik(L/L)) lack peripheral pDCs, but not other DC subsets. Loss of pDCs is associated with an inability to produce type I IFN after challenge with Toll-like receptor-7 and -9 ligands, or murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. In contrast, conventional DCs are present in normal numbers and exhibit normal responses in vivo after challenge with MCMV or inactivated toxoplasma antigen. Interestingly, Ik(L/L) bone marrow (BM) cells contain a pDC population that appears blocked at the Ly-49Q- stage of differentiation and fails to terminally differentiate in response to Flt-3L, a cytokine required for pDC differentiation. This differentiation block is strictly dependent on a cell-intrinsic requirement for Ikaros in pDC-committed precursors. Global gene expression profiling of Ik(L/L) BM pDCs reveals an up-regulation of genes not normally expressed, or expressed at low levels, in WT pDCs. These studies suggest that Ikaros controls pDC differentiation by silencing a large array of genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / genetics
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology
  • Ikaros Transcription Factor / biosynthesis
  • Ikaros Transcription Factor / genetics
  • Ikaros Transcription Factor / immunology*
  • Interferon Type I / biosynthesis
  • Interferon Type I / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Muromegalovirus / genetics
  • Muromegalovirus / immunology
  • Plasma Cells / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7 / biosynthesis
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7 / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9 / biosynthesis
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9 / immunology
  • Toxoplasma / immunology
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3 / biosynthesis
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3 / immunology


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Interferon Type I
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Tlr7 protein, mouse
  • Tlr9 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • Zfpn1a1 protein, mouse
  • Ikaros Transcription Factor
  • Flt3 protein, mouse
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3