RNase 7 Strongly Promotes TLR9-Mediated DNA Sensing by Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

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Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) were described to accumulate in the skin of patients with psoriasis and to be recruited into the dermis upon allergen challenge in atopic dermatitis. Activation of pDCs in the skin has been identified as an important initiator of psoriasis development. Ribonuclease (RNase) 7 is one of the major antimicrobial peptides secreted by keratinocytes and is expressed in significantly higher amounts in lesional skin of patients with atopic dermatitis or psoriasis than in healthy individuals. The skin-derived antimicrobial peptides human ß-defensin 2 and LL-37 indirectly stimulate the activity of skin pDCs, but to our knowledge, an immunomodulatory potential of RNase 7 has not yet been reported. We show here that RNase 7 enables human pDCs to recognize self-DNA and promotes their rapid sensing of bacterial DNA. This very fast innate immune response was sufficient to up-regulate the expression of several antiviral IFN-stimulated genes in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and to inhibit an infection of primary human keratinocytes with herpes simplex virus 1. RNase 7 was a markedly stronger trigger for IFN-α expression in human pDCs than the other antimicrobial peptides. Our data indicate that RNase 7 exhibits potent immunomodulatory functions and supports the efficient recognition of microbial infections by human skin-infiltrating pDCs.




Kopfnagel, V., Wagenknecht, S., Harder, J., Hofmann, K., Kleine, M., Buch, A., … Werfel, T. (2018). RNase 7 Strongly Promotes TLR9-Mediated DNA Sensing by Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 138(4), 872–881. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2017.09.052

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