Dendritic cells sample the environment for antigens and play an important role in establishing the link between innate and acquired immunity. Dendritic cells contain mechanosensitive adhesive structures called podosomes that consist of an actin-rich core surrounded by integrins, adaptor proteins and actin network filaments. They facilitate cell migration via localized degradation of extracellular matrix. Here, we show that podosomes of human dendritic cells locate to spots of low physical resistance in the substrate (soft spots) where they can evolve into protrusive structures. Pathogen recognition receptors locate to these protrusive structures where they can trigger localized antigen uptake, processing and presentation to activate T-cells. Our data demonstrate a novel role in antigen sampling for the podosomes of dendritic cells.
Phagocytosis is a complex process that involves membranelipid remodeling and the attraction and retention of key effector proteins. Phagosome phenotype depends on the type of receptor engaged and can be influenced by extracellular signals. Interleukin 4 (IL-4) is a cytokine that induces the alternative activation of macrophages (M?s) upon prolonged exposure, triggering a different cell phenotype that has an altered phagocytic capacity. In contrast, the direct effects of IL-4 during phagocytosis remain unknown. Here, we investigate the impact of short-term IL-4 exposure (1 hour) during phagocytosis of IgG-opsonized yeast particles by M?s. By time-lapse confocal microscopy of GFP-tagged lipid-sensing probes, we show that IL-4 increases the negative charge of the phagosomal membrane by prolonging the presence of the negatively charged second messenger PI(3,4,5)P3. Biochemical assays reveal an enhanced PI3K/Akt activity upon phagocytosis in the presence of IL-4. Blocking the specific class I PI3K after the onset of phagocytosis completely abrogates the IL-4-induced changes in lipid remodeling and concomitant membrane charge. Finally, we show that IL-4 direct signaling leads to a significantly prolonged retention profile of the signaling molecules Rac1 and Rab5 to the phagosomal membrane in a PI3K-dependent manner. This protracted early phagosome phenotype suggests an altered maturation, which is supported by the delayed phagosome acidification measured in the presence of IL-4. Our findings reveal that molecular differences in IL-4 levels, in the extracellular microenvironment, influence the coordination of lipid remodeling and protein recruitment, which determine phagosome phenotype and, eventually, fate. Endosomal and phagosomal membranes provide topological constraints to signaling molecules. Therefore, changes in the phagosome phenotype modulated by extracellular factors may represent an additional mechanism that regulates the outcome of phagocytosis and could have significant impact on the net biochemical output of a cell.
Signaling by the serine and threonine kinase Akt (also known as protein kinase B), a pathway that is common to all eukaryotic cells, is central to cell survival, proliferation, and gene induction. We sought to elucidate the mechanisms underlying regulation of the kinase activity of Akt in the immune system. We found that the four-transmembrane protein CD37 was essential for B cell survival and long-lived protective immunity. CD37-deficient (Cd37(-/-)) mice had reduced numbers of immunoglobulin G (IgG)-secreting plasma cells in lymphoid organs compared to those in wild-type mice, which we attributed to increased apoptosis of plasma cells in the germinal centers of the spleen, areas in which B cells proliferate and are selected. CD37 was required for the survival of IgG-secreting plasma cells in response to binding of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 to the ?(4)?(1) integrin. Impaired ?(4)?(1) integrin-dependent Akt signaling in Cd37(-/-) IgG-secreting plasma cells was the underlying cause responsible for impaired cell survival. CD37 was required for the mobility and clustering of ?(4)?(1) integrins in the plasma membrane, thus regulating the membrane distribution of ?(4)?(1) integrin necessary for activation of the Akt survival pathway in the immune system.
The C-type lectin DC-SIGN expressed on dendritic cells (DCs) facilitates capture and internalization of a plethora of different pathogens. Although it is known that DC-SIGN organizes in nanoclusters at the surface of DCs, the molecular mechanisms responsible for this well defined nanopatterning and role in viral binding remain enigmatic. By combining biochemical and advanced biophysical techniques, including optical superresolution and single particle tracking, we demonstrate that DC-SIGN intrinsic nanoclustering strictly depends on its molecular structure. DC-SIGN nanoclusters exhibited free, Brownian diffusion on the cell membrane. Truncation of the extracellular neck region, known to abrogate tetramerization, significantly reduced nanoclustering and concomitantly increased lateral diffusion. Importantly, DC-SIGN nanocluster dissolution exclusively compromised binding to nanoscale size pathogens. Monte Carlo simulations revealed that heterogeneity on nanocluster density and spatial distribution confers broader binding capabilities to DC-SIGN. As such, our results underscore a direct relationship between spatial nanopatterning, driven by intermolecular interactions between the neck regions, and receptor diffusion to provide DC-SIGN with the exquisite ability to dock pathogens at the virus length scale. Insight into how virus receptors are organized prior to virus binding and how they assemble into functional platforms for virus docking is helpful to develop novel strategies to prevent virus entry and infection.
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