Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In mouse, a subset of dendritic cells (DCs) known as CD8alpha+ DCs has emerged as an important player in the regulation of T cell responses and a promising target in vaccination strategies. However, translation into clinical protocols has been hampered by the failure to identify CD8alpha+ DCs in humans. Here, we characterize a population of human DCs that expresses DNGR-1 (CLEC9A) and high levels of BDCA3 and resembles mouse CD8alpha+ DCs in phenotype and function. We describe the presence of such cells in the spleens of humans and humanized mice and report on a protocol to generate them in vitro. Like mouse CD8alpha+ DCs, human DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs express Necl2, CD207, BATF3, IRF8, and TLR3, but not CD11b, IRF4, TLR7, or (unlike CD8alpha+ DCs) TLR9. DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs respond to poly I:C and agonists of TLR8, but not of TLR7, and produce interleukin (IL)-12 when given innate and T cell-derived signals. Notably, DNGR-1+ BDCA3+ DCs from in vitro cultures efficiently internalize material from dead cells and can cross-present exogenous antigens to CD8+ T cells upon treatment with poly I:C. The characterization of human DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs and the ability to grow them in vitro opens the door for exploiting this subset in immunotherapy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Med

Publication Date





1261 - 1271


Animals, Antigens, Surface, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cross-Priming, Dendritic Cells, Endocytosis, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, Immunity, Innate, Interleukin-12, Lectins, C-Type, Mice, Phenotype, Poly I-C, Receptors, Mitogen, Spleen, Toll-Like Receptors