A subset of dendritic cells express joining chain (J-chain) protein

Immunology. 2008 Apr;123(4):590-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2007.02733.x. Epub 2007 Nov 17.


Joining chain (J-chain) is well known as an integrated component of dimeric immunoglobulin A (IgA) and pentameric IgM. We show here that the J-chain protein is also expressed in a subset of CD11c+ dendritic cells (DC) in C57BL/6 mice. J-chain knockout mice (J-/- mice) had a reduced fraction of CD4-/CD8alpha+ and mPDCA-1+ DC in the spleen. J-/- mice also had reduced levels of RNA for the immunoregulatory enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in the spleen. Furthermore, in lymph nodes from C57BL/6 mice the majority of J-chain-expressing CD11c+ cells also expressed IDO, while the number of IDO-expressing cells in lymph nodes and the amount of IDO protein in splenic CD11c+ cells were reduced in J-/- mice. Also, J-/- mice had a lower ratio of kynurenine/tryptophan in serum compared to C57BL/6 mice, indicating a lower overall IDO activity in J-/- mice. We also show that J-/- mice are less susceptible to tolerance induction than C57BL/6 mice. In conclusion, our data show that J-chain protein is expressed outside the B-cell compartment in a subset of immunoregulatory DC that are compromised in animals that cannot express J-chain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD11c Antigen / analysis
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Gene Expression / immunology
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunoglobulin J-Chains / biosynthesis*
  • Immunoglobulin J-Chains / genetics
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase / biosynthesis
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • RNA / genetics
  • Spleen / immunology


  • CD11c Antigen
  • Immunoglobulin J-Chains
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase
  • RNA