In order to track hematopoetic cells of all lineages unambiguously at all stages of development, we have developed C57BL/6 mice that express a transgene coding for green fluorescent protein (GFP) under control of the human ubiquitin C promoter. These mice, called UBI-GFP/BL6, express GFP in all tissues examined, with high levels of GFP expression observed in hematopoetic cells. UBI-GFP/BL6 mice are unique in that B cells, T cells, and dendritic cells have distinct levels of GFP fluorescence. In cell transfer experiments, leukocytes from UBI-GFP/BL6 mice are readily identified by FACS or fluorescence microscopy. We demonstrate that transplanted UBI-GFP/BL6 dendritic cells are easily identified in secondary lymphoid tissues. Direct interactions between individual dendritic cells and multiple naïve CD8+ T cells are observed in lymph nodes within 12 h of cell transfer and require loading of the dendritic cells with the appropriate peptide antigen. Dendritic cells undergo specific morphologic changes following interactions with antigen-specific T cells.
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