Despite their critical function as APCs for primary immune responses, dendritic cells (DC) and Langerhans cells (LC) have been rarely used as targets of gene-based manipulation because well-defined regulatory elements controlling LC/DC-specific expression have not been identified. Previously, we identified dectin-2, a C-type lectin receptor expressed selectively by LC-like XS cell lines and by LC within mouse epidermis. Because these characteristics raised the possibility that dectin-2 promoter may direct LC/DC-specific gene expression, we isolated a 3.2-kb nucleotide fragment from the 5′-flanking region of the dectin-2 gene (Dec2FR) and characterized its regulatory elements and the transcriptional activity using a luciferase (Luc) reporter system. The Dec2FR contains a putative TATA box and cis-acting elements, such as the IFN-stimulated response element, that drive gene expression specifically in XS cells. Dec2FR comprises repressor, enhancer, and promoter regions, and the latter two regions coregulate XS cell-specific gene expression. In transgenic mice bearing a Dec2FR-regulated Luc gene, the skin was the predominant site of Luc activity and LC were the exclusive source of such activity within epidermis. By contrast, other APCs (DC, macrophages, and B cells) and T cells expressed Luc activity close to background levels. We conclude that epidermal LC are targeted selectively for high-level constitutive gene expression by Dec2FR in vitro and in vivo. Our findings lay the foundation for use of the dectin-2 promoter in LC-targeted gene expression systems that may enhance vaccination efficacy and regulate immune responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy