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Scand J Immunol. 2014 Mar;79(3):187-96. doi: 10.1111/sji.12148.

TREM-2 promotes macrophage-mediated eradication of Pseudomonas aeruginosa via a PI3K/Akt pathway.

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Department of Immunology, Institute of Human Virology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; Key Laboratory of Tropical Diseases Control, Ministry of Education, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.


Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM-2) is a cell surface receptor abundantly expressed on myeloid lineage cells such as macrophages and dendritic cells. It is reported that TREM-2 functions as an inflammatory inhibitor in macrophages and dendritic cells. However, the role of TREM-2 in bacterial killing remains unclear. This study explored the role of TREM-2 in bacterial eradication of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), a Gram-negative bacterium which causes various opportunistic infections. Phagocytosis assay assessed by flow cytometry suggested that TREM-2 was not involved in the uptake of PA by macrophages, while bacterial plate count data showed that TREM-2 was required for macrophage-mediated intracellular killing of PA. Moreover, our results demonstrated that TREM-2 promoted macrophage killing by enhancing reactive oxygen species (ROS), but not nitric oxygen (NO) production. Treatment with N-acetylcysteine, a ROS scavenger, diminished the TREM-2-mediated intracellular killing of PA. To further investigate the underlined mechanisms of TREM-2-promoted bacterial killing, we examined the activation of downstream mitogen-activated protein kinases and PI3K/Akt pathway. Western blot data showed that silencing of TREM-2 inhibited phosphorylation of Akt, but not ERK, JNK or P38. In addition, pretreatment with PI3K active product PIP3 DiC16 reversed the elevation of intracellular bacterial load in TREM-2-silenced macrophages, while PI3K inhibitor wortmannin restored the decline of bacterial load in TREM-2-overexpressed macrophages. These data together suggested that the TREM-2-mediated bacterial killing is dependent on the activation of PI3K/Akt signalling, which may provide a better understanding of the host antibacterial immune defence.

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