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The transcription factor NR4A1 is essential for the development of a novel macrophage subset in the thymus.

Scientific reports (2015-06-20)
Robert Tacke, Ingo Hilgendorf, Hannah Garner, Claire Waterborg, Kiwon Park, Heba Nowyhed, Richard N Hanna, Runpei Wu, Filip K Swirski, Frederic Geissmann, Catherine C Hedrick
ABSTRACT

Tissue macrophages function to maintain homeostasis and regulate immune responses. While tissue macrophages derive from one of a small number of progenitor programs, the transcriptional requirements for site-specific macrophage subset development are more complex. We have identified a new tissue macrophage subset in the thymus and have discovered that its development is dependent on transcription factor NR4A1. Functionally, we find that NR4A1-dependent macrophages are critically important for clearance of apoptotic thymocytes. These macrophages are largely reduced or absent in mice lacking NR4A1, and Nr4a1-deficient mice have impaired thymocyte engulfment and clearance. Thus, NR4A1 functions as a master transcription factor for the development of this novel thymus-specific macrophage subset.

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