Reprogramming Human Monocytes Into Type 1 Dendritic Cells

June 16, 2021
MSc. Thesis - Radboud University

Tasnim Zahan

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The potential of dendritic cells (DCs) for cancer immunotherapy has been highlighted for decades. Type 1 conventional DCs (cDC1s) gained recent attention due to their superior ability to perform antigen cross- presentation, a critical step for inducing antitumor cytotoxic T cell responses. However, the clinical testing of cDC1s has been hindered by their shortage in peripheral blood. We have previously identified a combination of three transcription factors PU.1, IRF8, and BATF3 able to reprogram mouse and human fibroblast to cDC1-like cells. Here, we show that the same combination of transcription factors can reprogram human monocytes isolated from peripheral blood into cDC1-like cells. Reprogramed monocytes express cDC1-specific surface markers including CLEC9A, CD141, and XCR1, show increased migratory capacity towards chemokine gradients and produce IL-12. Importantly, we show that reprogrammed monocytes acquire antigen cross presentation capacity to efficiently activate cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. This study sets the foundation to generate clinically applicable cDC1-like cells from easily accessible blood cells for DC vaccination.