Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Blood. 2014 Jun 19;123(25):3963-71. doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-01-547976. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

MerTK-mediated engulfment of pyrenocytes by central macrophages in erythroblastic islands.

Author information

Department of Medical Chemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, and.
Department of Medical Chemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, and Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Kyoto, Japan.


Definitive erythropoiesis takes place at erythroblastic islands, where erythroblasts proliferate and differentiate in association with central macrophages. At the final stage of erythropoiesis, pyrenocytes (nuclei surrounded by plasma membranes) are excluded from erythroblasts, expose phosphatidylserine (PtdSer), and are engulfed by the macrophages in a PtdSer-dependent manner. However, the molecular mechanism(s) involved in the engulfment of pyrenocytes are incompletely understood. Here, we constructed an in vitro assay system for the enucleation and engulfment of pyrenocytes using a methylcellulose-based culture. As reported previously, erythroblasts were bound to macrophages via interactions between integrin-α4β1 on erythroblasts and Vcam1 on macrophages. After enucleation, the resulting pyrenocytes exhibited a reduced affinity for Vcam1 that correlated with the presence of inactive integrin-α4β1 complexes. The pyrenocytes were then engulfed by the macrophages via a MerTK-protein S-dependent mechanism. Protein S appeared to function as a bridge between the pyrenocytes and macrophages by binding to PtdSer on the pyrenocytes and MerTK on the macrophages. Normally, NIH3T3 cells do not engulf pyrenocytes, but when they were transformed with MerTK, they efficiently engulfed pyrenocytes in the presence of protein S. These results suggest that macrophages use similar mechanisms to engulf both pyrenocytes and apoptotic cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center