Antigen-presenting conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) are broadly divided into type 1 and type 2 subsets that further adapt their phenotype and function to perform specialized tasks in the immune system. The precise signals controlling tissue-specific adaptation and differentiation of cDCs are currently poorly understood. We found that mice deficient in the Ste20 kinase Thousand and One Kinase 3 (TAOK3) lacked terminally differentiated ESAM+ CD4+ cDC2s in the spleen and failed to prime CD4+ T cells in response to allogeneic red-blood-cell transfusion. These NOTCH2- and ADAM10-dependent cDC2s were absent selectively in the spleen, but not in the intestine of Taok3-/- and CD11c-cre Taok3fl/fl mice. The loss of splenic ESAM+ cDC2s was cell-intrinsic and could be rescued by conditional overexpression of the constitutively active NOTCH intracellular domain in CD11c-expressing cells. Therefore, TAOK3 controls the terminal differentiation of NOTCH2-dependent splenic cDC2s.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Department of Pulmonology