Macrophages play key roles in regulating inflammation, wound healing and innate and acquired immunity. In response to activational stimuli, macrophages produce cytokines and growth factors that mediate these processes. Activation of macrophages has been classified as "classical" (inflammatory, M1) and "alternative" (angiogenic or wound healing, M2). M1 activation is mediated by IFNg and/or TLR agonists such as LPS, while M2 activation is broadly defined as mediated by IL4 or IL13 through the common IL4Ra. We have discovered a novel IL4Ra-independent pathway that is mediated by TLR agonists together with adenosine A2A/A2B receptor (A2AR/A2BR) agonists. This synergistic pathway suppresses TNFa and IL-12 expression and induces VEGF and IL-10 expression, switching macrophages into an M2-like phenotype that we have termed "M2d". This novel pathway requires the LPS-dependent induction of A2AR and A2BR expression, induction of HIF-1a expression, and suppression of phospholipase-Cb2 (PLCb2) expression at the post-transcriptional level by destabilization of its mRNA. We have found recently that a subset of miRNAs are specifically regulated in macrophages by LPS alone (miR-155, miR146a, miR-146b, miR-221 and miR-222), or by combined LPS/ A2AR/A2BR challenge (miR-483, miR-877, miR-337-5p, miR-546 and miR-494 are up-regulated, while miR-770- 5p, miR-487b, miR-220, miR-212 and miR-712 are strongly down-regulated). In this proposal we will first analyze the effects of the subgroup of miRNAs that are specifically regulated by LPS on the stability of PLCb2 mRNA by determining the effects of mimics and antagonists of these miRNAs on luciferase expression from our pPLC?2-3'UTR-Luc reporter plasmid in RAW264.7 cells. We will then determine the role(s) of the specific miRNAs that are regulated by A2AR/A2BR agonists in LPS-treated macrophages that result in "M2d" activation of macrophage gene expression. We hypothesize that miRNAs in this specific subset play a role in switching macrophages from an M1 to an "M2d" phenotype. We will study the effects of mimics and antagonists of these miRNAs on macrophage expression of TNFa and IL-12 (flagship cytokines produced by M1 activation), and VEGF and IL-10 (flagship factors produced by M2d activation). Finally, we will analyze the mechanism of destabilization of PLCb2 mRNA by LPS in macrophages. We hypothesize that LPS regulates the interaction of the PLCb2 3'UTR with regulatory factors such as miRNAs or RNA binding proteins that are involved in stabilizing the mRNA. Conserved overlapping sites for miR-466L and for the RNA binding proteins HuR and TTP are present in the 3'UTR. We will analyze the role of these factors in regulating PLCb2 mRNA stability by over-expressing or inhibiting these factors, and by modifying the binding sites in the 3'UTR by site-directed mutagenesis. These studies should provide novel insights into differential gene regulation in macrophages under conditions that induce "M2d" activation.

Public Health Relevance

Macrophages play a key role in regulating inflammation, wound healing and angiogenesis. Macrophages exhibit exquisite sensitivity to micro-environmental stimuli, and can be activated to express sets of genes that regulate either inflammatory or wound healing responses. We propose to investigate the role of miRNAs in the regulation of gene expression in activated macrophages, as well as to investigate how RNA stability and turnover may influence gene expression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Innate Immunity and Inflammation Study Section (III)
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Palker, Thomas J
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Rutgers University
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Ferrante, Christopher James; Pinhal-Enfield, Grace; Elson, Genie et al. (2013) The adenosine-dependent angiogenic switch of macrophages to an M2-like phenotype is independent of interleukin-4 receptor alpha (IL-4Rα) signaling. Inflammation 36:921-31