Metagene projection characterizes GEN2.2 and CAL-1 as relevant human plasmacytoid dendritic cell models

Bioinformatics. 2017 Dec 1;33(23):3691-3695. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btx502.


Motivation: Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) play a major role in the regulation of adaptive and innate immunity. Human pDC are difficult to isolate from peripheral blood and do not survive in culture making the study of their biology challenging. Recently, two leukemic counterparts of pDC, CAL-1 and GEN2.2, have been proposed as representative models of human pDC. Nevertheless, their relationship with pDC has been established only by means of particular functional and phenotypic similarities. With the aim of characterizing GEN2.2 and CAL-1 in the context of the main circulating immune cell populations we have performed microarray gene expression profiling of GEN2.2 and carried out an integrated analysis using publicly available gene expression datasets of CAL-1 and the main circulating primary leukocyte lineages.

Results: Our results show that GEN2.2 and CAL-1 share common gene expression programs with primary pDC, clustering apart from the rest of circulating hematopoietic lineages. We have also identified common differentially expressed genes that can be relevant in pDC biology. In addition, we have revealed the common and differential pathways activated in primary pDC and cell lines upon CpG stimulatio.

Availability and implementation: R code and data are available in the supplementary material.

Contact: or

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Immunological
  • Transcriptome