The dendritic cell life cycle

Francesca Granucci, Ivan Zanoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dendritic cells (DCs) are a special class of leukocytes actively involved in initiating innate and adaptive immune responses against invading pathogens. They play a fundamental role in determining both the type and efficiency of adaptive immune reactions. In particular, the efficiency of adaptive responses is strictly correlated with the survival of the DCs that have encountered the antigen. In physiological conditions, the rapid death of DCs by apoptosis after an encounter with a microbe is important to prevent both aberrant activation and autoimmunity. The mechanism leading to DC apoptosis after exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was recently elucidated, with activation of the c2 and c3 isoforms of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) playing a particularly important role in this process. In particular, the exposure of DCs to LPS induces the activation of Src-family kinases and phospholipase C (PLC)γ2, the influx of extracellular Ca2+ and calcineurin-dependent nuclear NFAT translocation. The initiation of this pathway is independent of TLR4 engagement and depends exclusively on CD14. We also consider here the possible role of CD14 in initiating this pathway and the way in which the c2 and c3 isoforms of NFAT exert their pro-apoptotic effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3816-3821
Number of pages6
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Apoptosis
  • CD14
  • Dendritic cells
  • NFAT
  • Smooth LPS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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