A fluorescent reporter model for the visualization and characterization of TDC
TDC are hematopoietic cells that combine dendritic cell (DC) and conventional T cell markers and functional properties. They were identified in secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) of naïve mice as cells expressing CD11c, major histocompatibility molecule (MHC)-II, and the T cell receptor (TCR) chain. Despite thorough characterization as to their potential functional properties, a physiological role for TDC remains to be determined. Unfortunately, using CD11c as a marker for TDC has the caveat of its upregulation on different cells, including T cells, upon activation. Therefore, a more specific marker is needed to further investigate TDC functions in peripheral organs in different pathological settings. Here we took advantage of Zbtb46-GFP reporter mice to explore the frequency and localization of TDC in peripheral tissues at steady state and upon viral infection. RNA sequencing analysis confirmed that TDC identified with this reporter model have a gene signature that is distinct from conventional T cells and DC. In addition, frequency and total numbers of TDC in the SLOs recapitulated those found using CD11c as a marker. This reporter model allowed for identification of TDC in situ not only in SLOs but also in the liver and lung of naïve mice. Interestingly, we found that TDC numbers in the SLOs increased upon viral infection, suggesting that TDC might play a role during viral infections. In conclusion, we propose a visualization strategy that might shed light on the physiological role of TDC in several pathological contexts, including infection and cancer.
Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca