Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 475 Views Nov 5, 2023

Medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTEC) are bona fide antigen-presenting cells that play a crucial role in the induction of T-cell tolerance. By their unique ability to express a broad range of tissue-restricted self-antigens, mTEC control the clonal deletion (also known as negative selection) of potentially hazardous autoreactive T cells and the generation of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Here, we describe a protocol to assess major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II antigen-presentation capacity of mTEC to CD4+ T cells. We detail the different steps of thymus enzymatic digestion, immunostaining, cell sorting of mTEC and CD4+ T cells, peptide-loading of mTEC, and the co-culture between these two cell types. Finally, we describe the flow cytometry protocol and the subsequent analysis to assess the activation of CD4+ T cells. This rapid co-culture assay enables the evaluation of the ability of mTEC to present antigens to CD4+ T cells in an antigen-specific context.

Key features

• This protocol builds upon the method used by Lopes et al. (2018 and 2022) and Charaix et al. (2022).

• This protocol requires transgenic mice, such as OTIIxRag2-/- mice and the cognate peptide OVA323–339, to assess mTEC antigen presentation to CD4+ T cells.

• This requires specific equipment such as a Miltenyi Biotec AutoMACS® Pro Separator, a BD FACSAriaTM III cell sorter, and a BD® LSR II flow cytometer.

Graphical overview

1 Q&A 673 Views Oct 20, 2023

Dendritic cells have been investigated for cell-based immunotherapy for various applications. The low abundance of dendritic cells in blood hampers their clinical application, resulting in the use of monocyte-derived dendritic cells as an alternative cell type. Limited knowledge is available regarding blood-circulating human dendritic cells, which can be divided into three subsets: type 2 conventional dendritic cells, type 1 conventional dendritic cells, and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. These subsets exhibit unique and desirable features for dendritic cell-based therapies. To enable efficient and reliable human research on dendritic cell subsets, we developed an efficient isolation protocol for the three human dendritic cell subsets, resulting in pure populations. The sequential steps include peripheral blood mononuclear cell isolation, magnetic-microbead lineage depletion (CD14, CD56, CD3, and CD19), and individual magnetic-microbead isolation of the three human dendritic cell subsets.

Graphical overview

Scheme of the dendritic cell (DC) isolation protocol. Starting material for this process is human blood (buffy coat or aphaeresis). From that, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are isolated by using ficoll gradient centrifugation. Then, an enrichment for DCs is performed using semi-automated equipment. From the enriched fraction, DC subsets are obtained by magnetic cell sorting.

0 Q&A 5488 Views May 20, 2020
Ectopic expression of transcription factor combinations has been recently demonstrated to reprogram differentiated somatic cells towards the dendritic cell (DC) lineage without reversion to a multipotent state. DCs have the ability to induce potent and long-lasting adaptive immune responses. In particular, conventional type 1 DCs (cDC1s) excel on antigen cross-presentation, a critical step for inducing CD8+ T cell cytotoxic responses. The rarity of naturally occurring cDC1s and lack of in vitro methodologies for the generation of pure cDC1 populations strongly hinders the study of cDC1 lineage specification and function. Here, we describe a protocol for the generation of induced DCs (iDCs) by lentiviral-mediated expression of the transcription factors PU.1, IRF8 and BATF3 in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. iDCs acquire DC morphology, cDC1 phenotype and transcriptional signatures within 9 days. iDCs generated with this protocol acquire functional ability to respond to inflammatory stimuli, engulf dead cells, process and cross-present antigens to CD8+ T cells. DC reprogramming provides a simple and tractable system to generate high numbers of cDC1-like cells for high content screening, opening new avenues to better understand cDC1 specification and function. In the future, faithful induction of cDC1 fate in fibroblasts may lead to the generation of patient-specific DCs for vaccination.
0 Q&A 16702 Views Mar 5, 2015
The spleen is a vastly vasculated organ and consists of a complex organized network of innate and adaptive immune cells. This permits the specialized functions of the spleen such as antibacterial and antifungal immunity and iron metabolism among others (Mebius and Kraal, 2005). Different dendritic cell (DC) subsets reside in the spleen and can be defined by the expression of unique surface markers. These DC subsets are recognized to perform non-redundant functions in the immune system (Merad et al., 2013). In our recent study, we found that Inositol Requiring Enzyme (IRE)-1 is specifically activated in splenic CD8a+ DCs. Furthermore, loss of X-box binding protein (XBP)-1 – the transcription factor regulated by IRE-1 – resulted in defective cross-presentation of dead cell associated antigens by splenic CD8a+ DCs (Osorio et al., 2014). This protocol allows the isolation of specific DC subsets for experimental use ex-vivo.

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