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J Immunol. 2012 Oct 15;189(8):3914-24. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201604. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Autotaxin through lysophosphatidic acid stimulates polarization, motility, and transendothelial migration of naive T cells.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Blood-borne lymphocytes home to lymph nodes by interacting with and crossing high endothelial venules (HEVs). The transendothelial migration (TEM) step is poorly understood. Autotaxin (ATX) is an ectoenzyme that catalyzes the conversion of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a bioactive lipid and a close relative of sphingosine 1-phosphate. HEVs produce and secrete ATX into the blood. A prior study implicated ATX in the overall homing process, but the step in which it functions and its mechanism of action have not been defined. In this article, we show that HA130, an inhibitor of the enzymatic activity of ATX, slows T cell migration across lymph node HEVs in vivo. Ex vivo, ATX plus LPC or LPA itself induces the polarization of mouse naive T cells and stimulates their motility on an ICAM-1 substratum. Under physiologic shear conditions in a flow chamber, LPA or ATX/LPC strongly enhances TEM of integrin-arrested T cells across an endothelial monolayer. HA130 blunts the TEM-promoting activity of ATX, paralleling its in vivo effects. T cells possess Mn(+2)-activatable receptors for ATX, which are localized at the leading edge of polarized cells. ATX must bind to these receptors to elicit a maximal TEM response, providing a mechanism to focus the action of LPA onto arrested lymphocytes in flowing blood. Our results indicate that LPA produced via ATX facilitates T cell entry into lymph nodes by stimulating TEM, substantiating an additional step in the homing cascade. This entry role for LPA complements the efflux function of sphingosine 1-phosphate.

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