Dendritic cell (DC) development is orchestrated by lineage-determining transcription factors (TFs). Although, members of the activator-protein-1 (AP-1) family, including Batf3, have been implicated in conventional (c)DC specification, the role of Jun proteins is poorly understood. Here, we identified c-Jun and JunB as essential for cDC1 fate specification and function. In mice, Jun proteins regulate extrinsic and intrinsic pathways, which control CD8α cDC1 diversification, whereas CD103 cDC1 development is unaffected. The loss of c-Jun and JunB in DC progenitors diminishes the CD8α cDC1 pool and thus confers resistance to Listeria monocytogenes infection. Their absence in CD8α cDC1 results in impaired TLR triggering and antigen cross-presentation. Both TFs are required for the maintenance of the CD8α cDC1 subset and suppression of cDC2 identity on a transcriptional and phenotypic level. Taken together, these results demonstrate the essential role of c-Jun and JunB in CD8α cDC1 diversification, function, and maintenance of their identity.
© 2021. The Author(s).