SYK regulates macrophage MHC-II expression via activation of autophagy in response to oxidized LDL

Soo-Ho Choi, Ayelet Gonen, Cody J Diehl, Jungsu Kim, Felicidad Almazan, Joseph L Witztum, Yury I Miller
Autophagy 2015, 11 (5): 785-95
Adaptive immunity, which plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, is mediated by major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-dependent antigen presentation. In atherosclerotic lesions, macrophages constitute an important class of antigen-presenting cells that activate adaptive immune responses to oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL). It has been reported that autophagy regulates adaptive immune responses by enhancing antigen presentation to MHC class II (MHC-II). In a previous study, we have demonstrated that SYK (spleen tyrosine kinase) regulates generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of MAPK8/JNK1 in macrophages. Because ROS and MAPK8 are known to regulate autophagy, in this study we investigated the role of SYK in autophagy, MHC-II expression and adaptive immune response to OxLDL. We demonstrate that OxLDL induces autophagosome formation, MHC-II expression, and phosphorylation of SYK in macrophages. Gene knockout and pharmacological inhibitors of NOX2 and MAPK8 reduced OxLDL-induced autophagy. Using bone marrow-derived macrophages isolated from wild-type and myeloid-specific SYK knockout mice, we demonstrate that SYK regulates OxLDL-induced ROS generation, MAPK8 activation, BECN1-BCL2 dissociation, autophagosome formation and presentation of OxLDL-derived antigens to CD4(+) T cells. ldlr(-/-) syk(-/-) mice fed a high-fat diet produced lower levels of IgG to malondialdehyde (MDA)-LDL, malondialdehyde-acetaldehyde (MAA)-LDL, and OxLDL compared to ldlr(-/-) mice. These results provide new insights into the mechanisms by which SYK regulates MHC-II expression via autophagy in macrophages and may contribute to regulation of adaptive immune responses in atherosclerosis.

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