Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional APCs that can control immune responses against self and altered self, typically foreign, determinants. DCs can be divided into several subsets, including CD8alpha(+) and CD8alpha(-) DCs. These subsets possess specific functions. For example, mouse splenic CD8alpha(+), but not CD8alpha(-) DCs selectively take up dying cells and cross-present cell-associated Ags to naive T cells. In this study, we identified genes that were more expressed in CD8alpha(+) than CD8alpha(-) DCs by microarray analysis. Only one of these genes, when the extracellular domains were linked to human IgG Fc domain, could bind to late apoptotic or necrotic cells. This gene was a new member of the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (Trem) family, Trem-like 4 (Treml4). Treml4 mRNA and protein, the latter detected with a new mAb, were predominantly expressed in spleen. Treml4, like other Trem family members, could associate with the adaptor molecule DNAX activation protein 12 kDa, but neither DNAX activation protein 10 kDa nor FcRgamma. Consistent with the microarray data, we confirmed that Treml4 protein was more expressed on CD8alpha(+) than CD8alpha(-) DCs, and we also found that Treml4 was expressed at high levels on splenic macrophages in spleen, particularly red pulp and marginal metallophilic macrophages. In addition, Treml4 expression on DCs was not changed after maturation induced by TLR ligands. Thus, Treml4 is a new Trem family molecule that is abundantly expressed on CD8alpha(+) DCs and subsets of splenic resident macrophages, and can recognize dead cells by different types of phagocytes in spleen.
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