The p50 Subunit of NF-κB Orchestrates Dendritic Cell Lifespan and Activation of Adaptive Immunity

Paola Larghi, Chiara Porta, Elena Riboldi, Maria Grazia Totaro, Lorenzo Carraro, Ciriana Orabona, Antonio Sica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dendritic cells play a central role in keeping the balance between immunity and immune tolerance. A key factor in this equilibrium is the lifespan of DC, as its reduction restrains antigen availability leading to termination of immune responses. Here we show that lipopolysaccharide-driven DC maturation is paralleled by increased nuclear levels of p50 NF-κB, an event associated with DC apoptosis. Lack of p50 in murine DC promoted increased lifespan, enhanced level of maturation associated with increased expression of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-18 and IFN-β, enhanced capacity of activating and expanding CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in vivo and decreased ability to induce differentiation of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells. In agreement, vaccination of melanoma-bearing mice with antigen-pulsed LPS-treated p50-/- BM-DC boosted antitumor immunity and inhibition of tumor growth. We propose that nuclear accumulation of the p50 NF-κB subunit in DC, as occurring during lipopolysaccharide-driven maturation, is a homeostatic mechanism tuning the balance between uncontrolled activation of adaptive immunity and immune tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere45279
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 25 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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