The observation that the T-bet transcription factor allows tissue-specific upregulation of intracellular osteopontin (Opn-i) in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) suggests that Opn might contribute to the expression of interferon-α (IFN-α) in those cells. Here we show that Opn deficiency substantially reduced Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)–dependent IFN-α responses but spared expression of transcription factor NF-κB–dependent proinflammatory cytokines. Shortly after TLR9 engagement, colocalization of Opn-i and the adaptor molecule MyD88 was associated with induction of transcription factor IRF7–dependent IFN-α gene expression, whereas deficient expression of Opn-i was associated with defective nuclear translocation of IRF7 in pDCs. The importance of the Opn–IFN-α pathway was emphasized by its essential involvement in cross-presentation in vitro and in anti–herpes simplex virus 1 IFN-α response in vivo. The finding that Opn-i selectively coupled TLR9 signaling to expression of IFN-α but not to that of other proinflammatory cytokines provides new molecular insight into the biology of pDCs.
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We thank S. Turley for critical reading; D. Laznik for technical assistance; and A. Angel for assistance with the manuscript and figures. Supported by the National Institutes of Health (AI48125 and AI12184 to H.C.; T32 CA70083 to M.L.S; and CA48126 and AI56296 to L.H.G.), the Ellison Medical Foundation (L.H.G.) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (M.L.S.).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Activation marker expression on pDC from Opn WT and Opn-deficient mice. (PDF 82 kb)
In vitro cross-presentation by pDC and cDC. (PDF 50 kb)
IFNAR signaling licenses pDC for antigen cross-presentation. (PDF 51 kb)
Evaluation of Opn-s and Opn-i in antigen cross-presentation. (PDF 54 kb)
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