Visualization of IL-12/23p40 in vivo reveals immunostimulatory dendritic cell migrants that promote Th1 differentiation.
IL-12p40 is induced in macrophages and dendritic cells (DC) after activation by microbial TLR ligands and cytokines and constitutes a component of IL-12 and IL-23. In an effort to understand the location and kinetics of these cytokines during the course of an immune response, we generated knockin (gene-targeted) mice that express the p40 gene linked via a viral internal ribosome entry site element with fluorescent reporters, eYFP or eGFP. Macrophages and DC from these mice faithfully reported biallelic p40 induction using the fluorescent marker. s.c. inoculation with Listeria monocytogenes or LPS led to a rapid, but transient, accumulation of p40-expressing DC in draining lymph nodes, which could be blocked by the addition of pertussis toxin. In situ analysis also revealed the accumulation of IL-12p40 protein around high endothelial venules located in close proximity to p40-expressing DC. Consistent with the in vivo findings, in vitro-activated DC that expressed p40 migrated to draining lymph nodes and promoted Th1 differentiation more efficiently than DC that did not express p40. Accordingly, these mice provide a valuable tool for tracking critical functions of DC in vivo and should bestow a useful reagent for exploring the effector biology of these cells in models of infectious disease, cancer immunity, and vaccine development.
Reinhardt, RL; Hong, S; Kang, S-J; Wang, Z-E; Locksley, RM
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