The transcription factor MafB is involved in cellular differentiation and phagocytosis in macrophages. Macrophages phagocytose apoptotic cells in vivo; this process, which is known as efferocytosis, requires Axl receptor tyrosine kinase (Axl) activity. However, the association between MafB and efferocytosis, as well as that between MafB and Axl, in macrophages is unknown. We hypothesized that MafB modulates macrophage efferocytosis by regulating Axl expression. Fluorescent-labeled apoptotic thymocytes were added to RAW264.7-MafB-shRNA and control cells, and the proportion of phagocytosis-positivey fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. In addition, Axl mRNA and protein were quantified by real-time PCR and western blotting in each group. RAW264.7-MafB-shRNA cells were transfected with a plasmid expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Axl or a control empty plasmid expressing only GFP. The capacity for phagocytosis of apoptotic cells was assessed in GFP-positive cells gated based on fluorescence intensity. In RAW264.7-MafB-shRNA cells, capacity for phagocytosis of apoptotic thymocytes was significantly reduced compared with that of control cells, as determined by fluorescence microscope and flow cytometry. Axl mRNA and protein expression was significantly reduced in RAW264.7-MafB-shRNA cells relative to control cells. Furthermore, the capacity of RAW264.7-MafB-shRNA cells, transfected with an Axl-expressing plasmid, for phagocytosis of apoptotic thymocytes was significantly greater than that of cells transfected with the control plasmid. Collectively, the present findings indicate that MafB enhances efferocytosis by regulating Axl expression in RAW264.7 macrophages.
Immunobiology – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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