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LSSS 2014-2015


Life Sciences Seminar Series


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Sergio Grinstein

The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Canada

Imaging phagocytosis: receptors, signal transduction and the cytoskeleton

Selected Publications

Contrasting phagosome pH regulation and maturation in human M1 and M2 macrophages.Canton J, Khezri R, Glogauer M, Grinstein S
Mol. Biol. Cell 2014 Nov 1; 25(21):3330-41


Macrophages respond to changes in environmental stimuli by assuming distinct functional phenotypes, a phenomenon referred to as macrophage polarization. We generated classically (M1) and alternatively (M2) polarized macrophages--two extremes of the polarization spectrum--to compare the properties of their phagosomes. Specifically, we analyzed the regulation of the luminal pH after particle engulfment. The phagosomes of M1 macrophages had a similar buffering power and proton (equivalent) leakage permeability but significantly reduced proton-pumping activity compared with M2 phagosomes. As a result, only the latter underwent a rapid and profound acidification. By contrast, M1 phagosomes displayed alkaline pH oscillations, which were caused by proton consumption upon dismutation of superoxide, followed by activation of a voltage- and Zn(2+)-sensitive permeation pathway, likely HV1 channels. The paucity of V-ATPases in M1 phagosomes was associated with, and likely caused by, delayed fusion with late endosomes and lysosomes. The delayed kinetics of maturation was, in turn, promoted by the failure of M1 phagosomes to acidify. Thus, in M1 cells, elimination of pathogens through deployment of the microbicidal NADPH oxidase is given priority at the expense of delayed acidification. By contrast, M2 phagosomes proceed to acidify immediately in order to clear apoptotic bodies rapidly and effectively.

Actin cytoskeleton reorganization by Syk regulates Fcγ receptor responsiveness by increasing its lateral mobility and clustering.Jaumouillé V, Farkash Y, Jaqaman K, Das R, Lowell CA, Grinstein S
Dev. Cell 2014 Jun 9; 29(5):534-46


Clustering of immunoreceptors upon association with multivalent ligands triggers important responses including phagocytosis, secretion of cytokines, and production of immunoglobulins. We applied single-molecule detection and tracking methods to study the factors that control the mobility and clustering of phagocytic Fcγ receptors (FcγR). While the receptors exist as monomers in resting macrophages, two distinct populations were discernible based on their mobility: some diffuse by apparent free motion, while others are confined within submicron boundaries that reduce the frequency of spontaneous collisions. Src-family and Syk kinases determine the structure of the actin cytoskeleton, which is fenestrated, accounting for the heterogeneous diffusion of the FcγR. Stimulation of these kinases during phagocytosis induces reorganization of the cytoskeleton both locally and distally in a manner that alters receptor mobility and clustering, generating a feedback loop that facilitates engagement of FcγR at the tip of pseudopods, directing the progression of phagocytosis.

The phosphatidylserine receptor TIM4 utilizes integrins as coreceptors to effect phagocytosis.Flannagan RS, Canton J, Furuya W, Glogauer M, Grinstein S
Mol. Biol. Cell 2014 May; 25(9):1511-22


T-cell immunoglobulin mucin protein 4 (TIM4), a phosphatidylserine (PtdSer)-binding receptor, mediates the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. How TIM4 exerts its function is unclear, and conflicting data have emerged. To define the mode of action of TIM4, we used two distinct but complementary approaches: 1) we compared bone marrow-derived macrophages from wild-type and TIM4(-/-) mice, and 2) we heterologously expressed TIM4 in epithelioid AD293 cells, which rendered them competent for engulfment of PtdSer-bearing targets. Using these systems, we demonstrate that rather than serving merely as a tether, as proposed earlier by others, TIM4 is an active participant in the phagocytic process. Furthermore, we find that TIM4 operates independently of lactadherin, which had been proposed to act as a bridging molecule. Of interest, TIM4-driven phagocytosis depends on the activation of integrins and involves stimulation of Src-family kinases and focal adhesion kinase, as well as the localized accumulation of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate. These mediators promote recruitment of the nucleotide-exchange factor Vav3, which in turn activates small Rho-family GTPases. Gene silencing or ablation experiments demonstrated that RhoA, Rac1, and Rac2 act synergistically to drive the remodeling of actin that underlies phagocytosis. Single-particle detection experiments demonstrated that TIM4 and β1 integrins associate upon receptor clustering. These findings support a model in which TIM4 engages integrins as coreceptors to evoke the signal transduction needed to internalize PtdSer-bearing targets such as apoptotic cells.

Phosphatidic acid is required for the constitutive ruffling and macropinocytosis of phagocytes.Bohdanowicz M, Schlam D, Hermansson M, Rizzuti D, Fairn GD, Ueyama T, Somerharju P, Du G, Grinstein S
Mol. Biol. Cell 2013 Jun; 24(11):1700-12, S1-7


Macrophages and dendritic cells continuously survey their environment in search of foreign particles and soluble antigens. Such surveillance involves the ongoing extension of actin-rich protrusions and the consequent formation of phagosomes and macropinosomes. The signals inducing this constitutive cytoskeletal remodeling have not been defined. We report that, unlike nonphagocytic cells, macrophages and immature dendritic cells have elevated levels of phosphatidic acid (PA) in their plasma membrane. The plasmalemmal PA is synthesized by phosphorylation of diacylglycerol, which is in turn generated by a G protein-stimulated phospholipase C. Inhibition of diacylglycerol kinase activity results in the detachment of T-cell lymphoma invasion and metastasis-inducing protein 1 (TIAM1)-a Rac guanine exchange factor-from the plasma membrane, thereby depressing Rac activity and abolishing the constitutive ruffling and macropinocytosis that characterize macrophages and immature dendritic cells. Accumulation of PA and binding of TIAM1 to the membrane require the activity of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase. Thus a distinctive, constitutive pathway of PA biosynthesis promotes the actin remodeling required for immune surveillance.

Multimolecular signaling complexes enable Syk-mediated signaling of CD36 internalization.Heit B, Kim H, Cosío G, Castaño D, Collins R, Lowell CA, Kain KC, Trimble WS, Grinstein S
Dev. Cell 2013 Feb 25; 24(4):372-83


CD36 is a versatile receptor known to play a central role in the development of atherosclerosis, the pathogenesis of malaria, and the removal of apoptotic cells. Remarkably, the short cytosolically exposed regions of CD36 lack identifiable motifs, which has hampered elucidation of its mode of signaling. Using a combination of phosphoprotein isolation, mass spectrometry, superresolution imaging, and gene silencing, we have determined that the receptor induces ligand internalization through a heteromeric complex consisting of CD36, β1 and/or β2 integrins, and the tetraspanins CD9 and/or CD81. This receptor complex serves to link CD36 to the adaptor FcRγ, which bears an immunoreceptor tyrosine activation motif. By coupling to FcRγ, CD36 is able to engage Src-family kinases and Syk, which in turn drives the internalization of CD36 and its bound ligands.

Phosphatidylserine dynamics in cellular membranes.Kay JG, Koivusalo M, Ma X, Wohland T, Grinstein S
Mol. Biol. Cell 2012 Jun; 23(11):2198-212


Much has been learned about the role of exofacial phosphatidylserine (PS) in apoptosis and blood clotting using annexin V. However, because annexins are impermeant and unable to bind PS at low calcium concentration, they are unsuitable for intracellular use. Thus little is known about the topology and dynamics of PS in the endomembranes of normal cells. We used two new probes-green fluorescent protein (GFP)-LactC2, a genetically encoded fluorescent PS biosensor, and 1-palmitoyl-2-(dipyrrometheneboron difluoride)undecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-L-serine (TopFluor-PS), a synthetic fluorescent PS analogue-to examine PS distribution and dynamics inside live cells. The mobility of PS was assessed by a combination of advanced optical methods, including single-particle tracking and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Our results reveal the existence of a sizable fraction of PS with limited mobility, with cortical actin contributing to the confinement of PS in the plasma membrane. We were also able to measure the dynamics of PS in endomembrane organelles. By targeting GFP-LactC2 to the secretory pathway, we detected the presence of PS in the luminal leaflet of the endoplasmic reticulum. Our data provide new insights into properties of PS inside cells and suggest mechanisms to account for the subcellular distribution and function of this phospholipid.