About this Research Topic
Since their identification in the mid-70s by Ralph Steinman, dendritic cells (DCs) have been shown to play an essential role in the induction of immunity and tolerance. Their privileged localization, expression of multiple receptors, and capacity to mature and migrate in response to infection or inflammation place them in a central position to link innate and adaptive immune responses. With the advancing development of new tools and technologies, such as cytometry by time-of-flight (CyTOF) and single cell RNA sequencing, many important aspects of DC biology and function have been explored in great detail. In this way, much has been learned about their lineage specification, migration and replication capacities in lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs. The identification of specific cell surface and intracellular markers has also enabled us to classify DCs in different subsets, including conventional type 1 (cDC1s), conventional type 2 (cDC2s), and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), among others. The generation of transgenic mice completely lacking the DC compartment, and those lacking specific subset(s), have provided insight into their distinctive roles in induction of immune responses and/or development of peripheral tolerance.
Although much progress has been made, many questions still remain to be addressed. For example, the complexity of the DC compartment could be explored for the identification of better DC subsets to target for therapeutic applications. The potential manipulation and use of DCs, or their subtypes, in vaccination protocols is currently being addressed in clinical trials, especially in cancer patients. Exploring the different functions of DCs in complex settings in relation to immunity and tolerance is essential for our understanding of how our immune system deals with infections and maintains homeostasis. Such knowledge may be used not only to improve our understanding of immune system function, but also in vaccine design and in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
In this Research Topic, we welcome the submission of Original Research, Methods, Protocols, Classification, Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Perspective and Clinical Trial articles that cover recent advances in the following topics:
1. DC ontogeny.
2. DC subsets and their regulation of immune function.
3. DC receptors and antigen recognition.
4. DC antigen processing machinery.
5. DC activation in the context of infection and/or inflammation.
6. DC regulation of peripheral tolerance.
7. DC interactions with T and/or B cells.
8. Mouse models used to study dendritic cell biology and function.
9. Vaccination strategies using dendritic cells.
Keywords: Dendritic cells, Immunity, Immune tolerance
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