Isolating and targeting a highly active, stochastic dendritic cell subpopulation for improved immune responses

Peter Deak, Bradley Studnitzer, Trevor Ung, Rachel Steinhardt, Melody Swartz, Aaron Esser-Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Dendritic cell (DC) activation via pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) is critical for antigen presentation and development of adaptive immune responses, but the stochastic distribution of DC responses to PAMP signaling, especially during the initial stages of immune activation, is poorly understood. In this study, we isolate a unique DC subpopulation via preferential phagocytosis of microparticles (MPs) and characterize this subpopulation of “first responders” (FRs). We present results that show these cells (1) can be isolated and studied via both increased accumulation of the micron-sized particles and combinations of cell surface markers, (2) show increased responses to PAMPs, (3) facilitate adaptive immune responses by providing the initial paracrine signaling, and (4) can be selectively targeted by vaccines to modulate both antibody and T cell responses in vivo. This study presents insights into a temporally controlled, distinctive cell population that influences downstream immune responses. Furthermore, it demonstrates potential for improving vaccine designs via FR targeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111563
JournalCell Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • CP: Immunology
  • dendritic cells
  • first responder cells
  • stochastic immune signaling
  • vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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