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Exp Cell Res. 1988 Feb;174(2):481-90.

Characteristics of the beta-glucan receptor of murine macrophages.

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Department of Membrane Research, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Phagocytosis of heat-killed yeast (HK-yeast), zymosan, and glucan particles by thioglycollate-elicited mouse peritoneal macrophages (Tg-macrophages) was inhibited by soluble glucan polymers/oligomers. The inhibitory capacity of soluble glucans decreased steeply with the decrease in the degree of polymerization (DPn); i.e., the concentration at which 50% inhibition of phagocytosis was attained was 0.23 microgram/ml for glucan 1 (DPn 24.8), 0.8 microgram/ml for glucan 2 (DPn 21.9), and greater than 40 micrograms/ml for glucan 3 (DPn 13.8). The glucan polymers were obtained by partial hydrolysis of glucan particles with formic acid (90%, 95 degrees C, 20 min) and fractionation according to solubility in ethanol water mixtures. A short preincubation (5 min, 4 or 37 degrees C) of Tg-macrophages with glucan 1 led to a subsequent inhibition of HK-yeast phagocytosis. Recovery of the phagocytic function was slow (27% in 3 h; 68% in 5 h) and required protein synthesis. beta-Glucan receptor expression was also suppressed by dexamethasone treatment. Mannan exerted at high concentrations (5 mg/ml) a partial inhibitory activity which was totally abrogated by beta-glucanase treatment. Treatment of macrophages with glucan together with mannan did not enhance the inhibitory capacity of glucan beyond the component abrogated by enzyme treatment. Contribution of local opsonization of HK-yeast to the phagocytic response (involvement of complement receptors) was indirectly negated; (a) glucan 1 which inhibits HK-yeast phagocytosis by up to 95% is not an activator of complement and therefore could not compete for the opsonizing proteins; (b) cycloheximide treatment in itself inhibited only partially HK-yeast phagocytosis whereas it inhibited the reexpression of the glucan receptors; (c) glucan 1 did not affect the phagocytosis of serum opsonized HK-yeast. Thus under the experimental conditions described, phagocytosis of HK-yeast by murine macrophages is mediated by and large by the beta-glucan receptors, while the mannose receptors and complement receptors do not contribute to the process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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