Viral infection triggers rapid differentiation of human blood monocytes into dendritic cells

Wanqiu Hou, James S. Gibbs, Xiuju Lu, Christopher B. Brooke, Devika Roy, Robert L. Modlin, Jack R. Bennink, Jonathan W. Yewdell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surprisingly little is known about the interaction of human blood mononuclear cells with viruses. Here, we show that monocytes are the predominant cell type infected when peripheral blood mononuclear cells are exposed to viruses ex vivo. Remarkably, infection with vesicular stomatitis virus, vaccinia virus, and a variety of influenza A viruses (including circulating swine-origin virus) induces monocytes to differentiate within 18 hours into CD16 -CD83+ mature dendritic cells with enhanced capacity to activate T cells. Differentiation into dendritic cells does not require cell division and occurs despite the synthesis of viral proteins, which demonstrates that monocytes counteract the capacity of these highly lytic viruses to hijack host cell biosynthetic capacity. Indeed, differentiation requires infectious virus and viral protein synthesis. These findings demonstrate that monocytes are uniquely susceptible to viral infectionamongblood mononuclear cells, with the likely purpose of generating cells with enhanced capacity to activate innate and acquired antiviral immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3128-3131
Number of pages4
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 29 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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