About this Research Topic
As part of a broad family of innate myeloid cells, dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen presenting cells that, upon sensing extrinsic or intrinsic cues, undergo a well-characterized activation process that provides them with a unique ability to couple innate and adaptive immune responses and to regulate both immunity and tolerance. These remarkable features have rendered DCs as key regulators of the immune system. In this context, although the molecular mechanisms underlying DC activation have been under extensive research for over 20 years, the search for additional processes responsible for modulating DC function is far from over.
We are now beginning to appreciate that DCs are not exclusively activated by canonical recognition of pathogens or tissue injury, which is commonly associated with the expression of defense genes. In fact, DCs are also able to sense and decode perturbations in cell homeostasis that occur due to the presence of a threat. These parameters include cell intrinsic changes such as those in (i) cell polarity, (ii) secretory demand, (iii) ER stress and/or (iv) epigenetics as well as (v) environmental changes such as nutrient availability and alterations in oxygen levels. Although these research areas are still in their infancy, evidence is now emerging that these phenomena provide highly informative signals for fine-tuning DC phenotype and for immune-priming function.
In this Research Topic, we aim to cover recent advances on the mechanisms coordinating DC activation and function in response to changes in cellular physiology, extending beyond structural recognition of PAMPs and DAMPs. These mechanisms include metabolism, autophagy, hypoxia, endoplasmic reticulum stress and proteostasis, cell polarity, organelle signaling and epigenetic alterations among others that together, constitute a highly dynamic and emerging field.
We welcome the submission of Review and Mini-Review articles and expect to incorporate these innovative research lines into the theoretical framework of DC activation, providing interesting perspectives on DC biology in health and disease.
Keywords: Dendritic cell, Antigen presenting cell, PAMPs, DAMPs