Many human myeloid leukemia-derived cell lines possess the ability to acquire a dendritic cell (DC) phenotype. However, cytokine responsiveness is generally poor, requiring direct manipulation of intracellular signaling mechanisms for differentiation. In contrast, the CD34+ human acute myeloid leukemia cell line MUTZ-3 responds to granulocyte macrophagecolony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin 4 (IL-4), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), cytokines known to be pivotal both in vivo and in vitro for DC generation from monocytes and CD34+ stem cells. In all respects, MUTZ-3 cells behave as the immortalized equivalent of CD34+ DC precursors. Upon stimulation with specific cytokine cocktails, they acquire a phenotype consistent with either interstitial- or Langerhans-like DCs and upon maturation (mDC), express CD83. MUTZ-3 DC display the full range of functional antigen processing and presentation pathways. These findings demonstrate the unique suitability of MUTZ-3 cells as an unlimited source of CD34+ DC progenitors for the study of cytokine-induced DC differentiation.
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