Dendritic Cell Cartoon Immunology

Dendritic Cells

Dendritic cells (DCs) are named after their branched projections called dendrites. These cells are the sentinels of the immune system and are always testing their surroundings in case they see any danger. DCs process antigens they pick up from their surrounding and present these to T cells.

 


 

This video shows how dendritic cells growing in culture are transfected with a plasmid containing a gene for the Green fluorescent protein (GFP).

Transfection is the process of deliberately introducing nucleic acids into eukaryotic cells. Various methods can be used to transfect. Electroporation, shown in this video, is a technique by which an externally applied electrical field applied to the cells makes the plasma membrane of a cell temporarily porous so that molecules such as DNA can pass freely through it.

Once the DNA is inside the cells the genes in this DNA molecule can be “read” by the cell machinery and made into proteins. In this example the molecule DNA entered the cell has information to produce the green fluorescent protein GFP. Therefore the cells that have taken in the DNA can now make GFP and glow green.

More information on
transfection and electroporation
Dendritic cells
GFP