Dendritic cells (DCs) play an integral role in regulating mucosal immunity and homeostasis, but the signaling network mediating this function of DCs is poorly defined. We identified the noncanonical NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK) as a crucial mediator of mucosal DC function. DC-specific NIK deletion impaired intestinal immunoglobulin A (IgA) secretion and microbiota homeostasis, rendering mice sensitive to an intestinal pathogen, Citrobacter rodentium. DC-specific NIK was required for expression of the IgA transporter polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) in intestinal epithelial cells, which in turn relied on the cytokine IL-17 produced by TH17 cells and innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). NIK-activated noncanonical NF-κB induced expression of IL-23 in DCs, contributing to the maintenance of TH17 cells and type 3 ILCs. Consistent with the dual functions of IL-23 and IL-17 in mucosal immunity and inflammation, NIK deficiency also ameliorated colitis induction. Thus, our data suggest a pivotal role for the NIK signaling axis in regulating DC functions in intestinal immunity and homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy