European journal of immunology

Dendritic cell derived IL-2 inhibits survival of terminally mature cells via an autocrine signaling pathway.

PMID 25652593


DCs are crucial for sensing pathogens and triggering immune response. Upon activation by pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) ligands, GM-CSF myeloid DCs (GM-DCs) secrete several cytokines, including IL-2. DC IL-2 has been shown to be important for innate and adaptive immune responses; however, IL-2 importance in DC physiology has never been demonstrated. Here, we show that autocrine IL-2 signaling is functional in murine GM-DCs in an early time window after PAMPs stimulation. IL-2 signaling selectively activates the JAK/STAT5 pathway by assembling holo-receptor complexes at the cell surface. Using the sensitivity of targeted mass spectrometry, we show conclusively that GM-DCs express CD122, the IL-2 receptor β-chain, at steady state. In myeloid DCs, this cytokine pathway inhibits survival of PAMP-matured GM-DCs which is crucial for maintaining immune tolerance and preventing autoimmunity. Our findings suggest that immune regulation by this novel autocrine signaling pathway can potentially be used in DC immunotherapy.