A distinct subset of plasmacytoid dendritic cells induces activation and differentiation of B and T lymphocytes

Hong Zhang, Josh D. Gregorio, Toru Iwahori, Xiangyue Zhang, Okmi Choi, Lorna L. Tolentino, Tyler Prestwood, Yaron Carmi, Edgar G. Engleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are known mainly for their secretion of type I IFN upon viral encounter. We describe a CD2hiCD5+CD81+ pDC subset, distinguished by prominent dendrites and a mature phenotype, in human blood, bone marrow, and tonsil, which can be generated from CD34+ progenitors. These CD2hiCD5+CD81+ cells express classical pDC markers, as well as the toll-like receptors that enable conventional pDCs to respond to viral infection. However, their gene expression profile is distinct, and they produce little or no type I IFN upon stimulation with CpG oligonucleotides, likely due to their diminished expression of IFN regulatory factor 7. A similar population of CD5+CD81+ pDCs is present in mice and also does not produce type I IFN after CpG stimulation. In contrast to conventional CD5-CD81- pDCs, human CD5+CD81+ pDCs are potent stimulators of B-cell activation and antibody production and strong inducers of T-cell proliferation and Treg formation. These findings reveal the presence of a discrete pDC population that does not produce type I IFN and yet mediates important immune functions previously attributed to all pDCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1988-1993
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - 21 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • CD2
  • CD5
  • CD81
  • Plasmacytoid dendritic cells
  • Type I IFN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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