This study tests the hypothesis that CD8α(+) DCs in the spleen of mice contain an immature precursor for functionally mature, "classical" cross-presenting CD8α(+) DCs. The lymphoid tissues contain a network of phenotypically distinct DCs with unique roles in surveillance and immunity. Splenic CD8α(+) DCs have been shown to exhibit a heightened capacity for phagocytosis of cellular material, secretion of IL-12, and cross-priming of CD8(+) T cells. However, this population can be subdivided further on the basis of expression of both langerin/CD207 and CX(3)CR1. We therefore evaluated the functional capacities of these different subsets. The CX(3)CR1(+) CD8α(+) DC subset does not express langerin and does not exhibit the classical features above. The CX(3)CR1(-) CD8α(+) DC can be divided into langerin-positive and negative populations, both of which express DEC205, Clec9A, and high basal levels of CD86. However, the langerin(+) CX(3)CR1(-) CD8α(+) subset has a superior capacity for acquiring cellular material and producing IL-12 and is more susceptible to activation-induced cell death. Significantly, following purification and adoptive transfer into new hosts, the langerin(-) CX(3)CR1(-) CD8α(+) subset survives longer, up-regulates expression of langerin, and becomes more susceptible to activation-induced cell death. Last, in contrast to langerin(+) CX(3)CR1(-) CD8α(+), the langerin(-) CX(3)CR1(-) CD8α(+) are still present in Batf3(-/-) mice. We conclude that the classical attributes of CD8α(+) DC are confined primarily to the langerin(+) CX(3)CR1(-) CD8α(+) DC population and that the langerin(-) CX(3)CR1(-) subset represents a Batf3-independent precursor to this mature population.
Keywords: dendritic cell differentiation; differentiation of antigen presenting cells.
© 2014 Society for Leukocyte Biology.