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

PMID 25946330


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.