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J Biol Chem. 2012 Oct 26;287(44):37406-19. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.360982. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), transforming growth factor-β, hyaluronan (HA), and receptor for HA-mediated motility (RHAMM) are required for surfactant protein A-stimulated macrophage chemotaxis.

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Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


The innate immune system protects the host from bacterial and viral invasion. Surfactant protein A (SPA), a lung-specific collectin, stimulates macrophage chemotaxis. However, the mechanisms regulating this function are unknown. Hyaluronan (HA) and its receptors RHAMM (receptor for HA-mediated motility, CD168) and CD44 also regulate cell migration and inflammation. We therefore examined the role of HA, RHAMM, and CD44 in SPA-stimulated macrophage chemotaxis. Using antibody blockade and murine macrophages, SPA-stimulated macrophage chemotaxis was dependent on TLR2 but not the other SPA receptors examined. Anti-TLR2 blocked SPA-induced production of TGFβ. In turn, TGFβ1-stimulated chemotaxis was inhibited by HA-binding peptide and anti-RHAMM antibody but not anti-TLR2 antibody. Macrophages from TLR2(-/-) mice failed to migrate in response to SPA but responded normally to TGFβ1 and HA, effects that were blocked by anti-RHAMM antibody. Macrophages from WT and CD44(-/-) mice had similar responses to SPA, whereas those from RHAMM(-/-) mice had decreased chemotaxis to SPA, TGFβ1, and HA. In primary macrophages, SPA-stimulated TGFβ production was dependent on TLR2, JNK, and ERK but not p38. Pam3Cys, a specific TLR2 agonist, stimulated phosphorylation of JNK, ERK, and p38, but only JNK and ERK inhibition blocked Pam3Cys-stimulated chemotaxis. We have uncovered a novel pathway for SPA-stimulated macrophage chemotaxis where SPA stimulation via TLR2 drives JNK- and ERK-dependent TGFβ production. TGFβ1, in turn, stimulates macrophage chemotaxis in a RHAMM and HA-dependent manner. These findings are highly relevant to the regulation of innate immune responses by SPA with key roles for specific components of the extracellular matrix.

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