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J Immunol. 2003 Jul 15;171(2):594-9.

Pattern recognition by TREM-2: binding of anionic ligands.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Division of Infectious Diseases, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.


We recently described the cloning of murine triggering receptor expressed by myeloid cells (TREM) 2, a single Ig domain DNAX adaptor protein 12-associated receptor expressed by cells of the myeloid lineage. In this study, we describe the identification of ligands for TREM-2 on both bacteria and mammalian cells. First, by using a TREM-2A/IgG1-Fc fusion protein, we demonstrate specific binding to a number of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and to yeast. Furthermore, we show that fluorescently labeled Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bind specifically to TREM-2-transfected cells. The binding of TREM-2A/Ig fusion protein to E. coli can be inhibited by the bacterial products LPS, lipoteichoic acid, and peptidoglycan. Additionally, binding can be inhibited by a number of other anionic carbohydrate molecules, including dextran sulfate, suggesting that ligand recognition is based partly on charge. Using a sensitive reporter assay, we demonstrate activation of a TREM-2A/CD3zeta chimeric receptor by both bacteria and dextran sulfate. Finally, we demonstrate binding of TREM-2A/Ig fusion to a series of human astrocytoma lines but not to a variety of other cell lines. The binding to astrocytomas, like binding to bacteria, is inhibited by anionic bacterial products, suggesting either a similar charge-based ligand recognition method or overlapping binding sites for recognition of self- and pathogen-expressed ligands.

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