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Mol Immunol. 2007 Feb;44(5):856-65. Epub 2006 May 26.

Ficolin-2 recognizes DNA and participates in the clearance of dying host cells.

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Department of Clinical Immunology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark.


Ficolin-2 is a serum opsonin, which has been shown to be a pattern recognition molecule in the lectin complement activation pathway. Because innate immune mechanisms are involved in maintaining tissue homeostasis we hypothesized that Ficolin-2 also participate in the clearance of dying host cells. We found that Ficolin-2 binds to late apoptotic cells, as well as to apoptotic bodies and necrotic cells, but not to early apoptotic cells. We demonstrated that Ficolin-2 binds DNA in a calcium dependent manner and that DNA inhibits the binding to late apoptotic and necrotic cells, suggesting that DNA on permeable dying cells is a plausible ligand. Reconstituting serum deficient of Ficolin-2, C1q and mannose-binding lectin with Ficolin-2 augmented deposition of complement C4 on necrotic cells. Opsonization leads to an enhanced attachment/uptake of necrotic cells by macrophages. In conclusion dying host cells expose ligands with the capacity of binding Ficolin-2, which in turn leads to increased attachment and engulfment. Binding of Ficolin-2 to DNA points at nucleic acid exposed by permeable late apoptotic and necrotic cells as one of the ligands for Ficolin-2. Ficolin-2 may therefore be a scavenger molecule participating in the removal of host cells and maintenance of tissue homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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