Transcriptional fingerprints of antigen-presenting cell subsets in the human vaginal mucosa and skin reflect tissue-specific immune microenvironments

Dorothée Duluc, Romain Banchereau, Julien Gannevat, Luann Thompson-Snipes, Jean Philippe Blanck, Sandra Zurawski, Gerard Zurawski, Seunghee Hong, Jose Rossello-Urgell, Virginia Pascual, Nicole Baldwin, Jack Stecher, Michael Carley, Muriel Boreham, Sang Kon Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dendritic cells localize throughout the body, where they can sense and capture invading pathogens to induce protective immunity. Hence, harnessing the biology of tissue-resident dendritic cells is fundamental for the rational design of vaccines against pathogens. Methods: Herein, we characterized the transcriptomes of four antigen-presenting cell subsets from the human vagina (Langerhans cells, CD14- and CD14+ dendritic cells, macrophages) by microarray, at both the transcript and network level, and compared them to those of three skin dendritic cell subsets and blood myeloid dendritic cells. Results: We found that genomic fingerprints of antigen-presenting cells are significantly influenced by the tissue of origin as well as by individual subsets. Nonetheless, CD14+ populations from both vagina and skin are geared towards innate immunity and pro-inflammatory responses, whereas CD14- populations, particularly skin and vaginal Langerhans cells, and vaginal CD14- dendritic cells, display both Th2-inducing and regulatory phenotypes. We also identified new phenotypic and functional biomarkers of vaginal antigen-presenting cell subsets. Conclusions: We provide a transcriptional database of 87 microarray samples spanning eight antigen-presenting cell populations in the human vagina, skin and blood. Altogether, these data provide molecular information that will further help characterize human tissue antigen-presenting cell lineages and their functions. Data from this study can guide the design of mucosal vaccines against sexually transmitted pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number98
JournalGenome Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Sample, Genomics, FACS, Cell Processing, and Imaging Cores at BIIR. We thank Dr Carson Harrod and Mr Jerome Ellis (BIIR) for proofreading this manuscript. We also thank Dr Michael Ramsay for supporting our program. This study was funded by 1RC1AI087379-01, U19 AI057234 (NIH) and the Baylor Health Care System Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Duluc et al.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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