The Reticulum-Associated Protein RTN1A Specifically Identifies Human Dendritic Cells

Maria Gschwandtner, Philip Kienzl, Pooja Tajpara, Christopher Schuster, G Stipek, Maria Buchberger, Michael Mildner, Mario Mairhofer, Wolfgang Eppel, Martin Vierhapper, Johannes Pammer, Rupert Koller, Adelheid Elbe-Bürger, Erwin Tschachler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


RTN1 is an endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein that was initially identified in neuronal tissues. Here we show that the main isoform RTN1A is a marker for dendritic cells. In the skin, HLA-DR + CD1a high CD207 + CD11c weak Langerhans cells were the only cells in the epidermis, and HLA-DR + CD11c + dendritic cells were the main cells in the dermis, expressing this protein. RTN1A + dendritic cells were also found in gingiva, trachea, tonsil, thymus, and peripheral blood. During differentiation of MUTZ-3 cells into Langerhans cells, expression of RTN1A mRNA and protein preceded established Langerhans cell markers CD1a and CD207, and RTN1A protein partially co-localized with the endoplasmic reticulum marker protein disulfide isomerase. In line with this observation, we found that RTN1A was expressed by around 80% of Langerhans cell precursors in human embryonic skin. Our findings show that RTN1A is a marker for cells of the dendritic lineage, including Langerhans cells and dermal dendritic cells. This unexpected finding will serve as a starting point for the elucidation of the, until now, elusive functional roles of RTN1A in both the immune and the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1318-1327
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Biomarkers/metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation/immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Separation
  • Dendritic Cells/cytology
  • Dermis/cytology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum/immunology
  • Epidermal Cells/immunology
  • Epidermis/immunology
  • Fetal Blood/cytology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Protein Disulfide-Isomerases/metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms/immunology
  • RNA, Messenger/metabolism


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