M Chopin, SP Preston, ATL Lun, J Tellier, GK Smyth, M Pellegrini, GT Belz, LM Corcoran, JE Visvader, L Wu, SL Nutt
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) represent a unique immune cell type that responds to viral nucleic acids through the rapid production of type I interferons. Within the hematopoietic system, the transcription factor RUNX2 is exclusively expressed in pDCs and is required for their peripheral homeostasis. Here, we show that RUNX2 plays an essential role in promoting pDC localization and function. RUNX2 is required for the appropriate expression of the integrin-mediated adhesion machinery, as well as for the down-modulation of the chemokine receptor CXCR4, which allows pDC egress into the circulation. RUNX2 also facilitates the robust response to viral infection through the control of IRF7, the major regulator of type I interferon production. Mice lacking one copy of Runx2 have reduced numbers of peripheral pDCs and IFN-α expression, which might contribute to the reported difficulties of individuals with cleidocranial dysplasia, who are haploinsufficient for RUNX2, to clear viral infections.