Agrin, an extracellular matrix protein belonging to the heterogeneous family of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), is expressed by cells of the hematopoietic system but its role in leukocyte biology is not yet clear. Here we demonstrate that agrin has a crucial, nonredundant role in myeloid cell development and functions. We have identified lineage-specific alterations that affect maturation, survival and properties of agrin-deficient monocytic cells, and occur at stages later than stem cell precursors. Our data indicate that the cell-autonomous signals delivered by agrin are sensed by macrophages through the α-DC (DG) receptor and lead to the activation of signaling pathways resulting in rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton during the phagocytic synapse formation and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (Erk 1/2). Altogether, these data identify agrin as a novel player of innate immunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology