Identification of TLT2 as an engulfment receptor for apoptotic cells

Academic Article


  • Clearance of apoptotic cells (efferocytosis) is critical to the homeostasis of the immune system by restraining inflammation and autoimmune response to intracellular Ags released from dying cells. TLRs-mediated innate immunity plays an important role in pathogen clearance and in regulation of the adaptive immune response. However, the regulation of efferocytosis by activation of TLRs has not been well characterized. In this study, we found that activation of TLR3 or TLR9, but not of TLR2, enhances engulfment of apoptotic cells by macrophages. We found that the activation of TLR3 upregulates the expression of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-like protein 2 (TLT2), a member of the TREM receptor family, on the surface of macrophages. Blocking TLT2 on the macrophage surface by either specific anti-TLT2 Ab or soluble TLT2 extracellular domain attenuated the enhanced ability of macrophages with TLR3 activation to engulf apoptotic cells. To the contrary, overexpression of TLT2 increased the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. We found that TLT2 specifically binds to phosphatidylserine, a major "eat me" signal that is exposed on the surface of apoptotic cells. Furthermore, we found that TLT2 mediates phagocytosis of apoptotic cells in vivo. Thus, our studies identified TLT2 as an engulfment receptor for apoptotic cells. Our data also suggest a novel mechanism by which TREM receptors regulate inflammation and autoimmune response. Copyright©2012 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • De Freitas A; Banerjee S; Xie N; Cui H; Davis KI; Friggeri A; Fu M; Abraham E; Liu G
  • Start Page

  • 6381
  • End Page

  • 6388
  • Volume

  • 188
  • Issue

  • 12