Inducible IL-2 production by dendritic cells revealed by global gene expression analysis


Dendritic cells (DCs) are strong activators of primary T cell responses. Their priming ability is acquired upon encounter with maturation stimuli. To identify the genes that are differentially expressed upon maturation induced by exposure to Gram-negative bacteria, a kinetic study of DC gene expression was done with microarrays representing 11,000 genes and ESTs (expressed sequence tags). Approximately 3000 differentially expressed transcripts were identified. We found that functional interleukin 2 (IL-2) mRNA, which gave rise to IL-2 production, was transiently up-regulated at early time-points after bacterial encounter. In contrast, macrophages did not produce IL-2 upon bacterial stimulation. Thus, IL-2 is an additional key cytokine that confers unique T cell stimulatory capacity to DCs.

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Figure 1: Developmentally synchronized DCs.
Figure 2: PCA analysis.
Figure 3: Transcription response of DCs to bacteria.
Figure 4: IL-2 expression by DCs.
Figure 5: DC-derived IL-2 was a key molecule for T cell activation.


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We thank A. Schimpl for IL-2−/− mice, D. Grdic for helpful discussions, E. Bottani for manuscript editing and Affymetrix for technical support. Supported by the EC Grant QLG1-1999-00202-TAGAPO, the CNR Target Project on Biotechnology, the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC), Biopolo, Novuspharma and Lombardia Region.

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Correspondence to Paola Ricciardi-Castagnoli.

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Granucci, F., Vizzardelli, C., Pavelka, N. et al. Inducible IL-2 production by dendritic cells revealed by global gene expression analysis. Nat Immunol 2, 882–888 (2001).

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