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J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 8;286(14):12108-22. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.181800. Epub 2011 Feb 4.

Signaling via macrophage G2A enhances efferocytosis of dying neutrophils by augmentation of Rac activity.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO 80206, USA.


Phosphatidylserine (PS) and oxidized PS species have been identified as key ligands on apoptotic cells important for their recognition and removal (efferocytosis) by phagocytes, a requisite step for resolution of inflammation. We have recently demonstrated that lysophosphatidylserine (lyso-PS) generated and retained on neutrophils following short term activation of the NADPH oxidase in vitro and in vivo enhanced their clearance via signaling through the macrophage G-protein-coupled receptor G2A. Here, we investigated the signaling pathway downstream of G2A. Lyso-PS, either made endogenously in apoptosing neutrophils or supplied exogenously in liposomes along with lyso-PS(neg) apoptotic cells, signaled to macrophages in a G2A-dependent manner for their enhanced production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) via a calcium-dependent cytosolic phospholipase A2/cyclooxygenase-mediated mechanism. Subsequent signaling by PGE2 via EP2 receptors activated macrophage adenylyl cyclase and protein kinase A. These events, in turn, culminated in enhanced activity of Rac1, resulting in an increase in both the numbers of macrophages efferocytosing apoptotic cells and the numbers of cells ingested per macrophage. These data were surprising in light of previous reports demonstrating that signaling by PGE2 and adenylyl cyclase activation are associated with macrophage deactivation and inhibition of apoptotic cell uptake. Further investigation revealed that the impact of this pathway, either the enhancement or inhibition of efferocytosis, was exquisitely sensitive to concentration effects of these intermediaries. Together, these data support the hypothesis that lyso-PS presented on the surface of activated and dying neutrophils provides a tightly controlled, proresolution signal for high capacity clearance of neutrophils in acute inflammation.

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