Multicolor fate mapping of Langerhans cell homeostasis
Langerhans cells (LCs) constitute a network of immune sentinels in the skin epidermis that is seeded during embryogenesis. Whereas the development of LCs has been extensively studied, much less is known about the homeostatic renewal of adult LCs in “nonmanipulated” animals. Here, we present a new multicolor fluorescent fate mapping system and quantification approach to investigate adult LC homeostasis. This novel approach enables us to propose and provide evidence for a model in which the adult epidermal LC network is not formed by mature coequal LCs endowed with proliferative capabilities, but rather constituted by adjacent proliferative units composed of “dividing” LCs and their terminally differentiated daughter cells. Altogether, our results demonstrate the general utility of our novel fate-mapping system to follow cell population dynamics in vivo and to establish an alternative model for LC homeostasis.