Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 257-264

First online:

Molecular Characterization of Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

  • Wei CaoAffiliated withDepartment of Immunology, Unit 901, 7455 Fannin, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Email author 

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Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) represent a unique and important immune cell population capable of producing large quantifies of type I interferon (IFN) in response to viruses as well as nucleic acid-containing complexes from the host. These rare and mysterious cells have been revealed by in-depth molecular characterization. Several innate sensors and signaling molecules enriched in pDCs allow their specialized innate immune functions. In addition, human pDCs use a group of surface receptors that, through activation of a B-cell receptor (BCR)-like signaling pathway, modulate type I IFN responses. It is clear now that pDC development is influenced by distinctive transcription factors that specify a unique lineage. CD4+CD56+ hematodermic neoplasm of human pDC origin has been revealed in explicit molecular terms.


A detailed molecular description of pDCs helps us better define, understand, and track human pDCs in relation to their functions and physiological involvement.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells type I interferon production regulation of interferon responses pDC development CD4+CD56+ hematodermic neoplasm