β2M Signals Monocytes Through Non-Canonical TGFβ Receptor Signal Transduction.
Abstract: Rationale: Circulating monocytes can have pro-inflammatory or pro-reparative phenotypes. The endogenous signaling molecules and pathways that regulate monocyte polarization in vivo are poorly understood. We have shown that platelet derived beta-2 microglobulin (β2M) and transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) have opposing effects on monocytes by inducing inflammatory and reparative phenotypes respectively, but each bind and signal through the same receptor. We now define the signaling pathways involved. Objective: To determine the molecular mechanisms and signal transduction pathways by which β2M and TGFβ regulate monocyte responses both in vitro and in vivo. Methods and Results: Wild-type (WT) and platelet specific β2M knockout (Plt-β2M-/-) mice were treated intravenously with either β2M or TGFβ to increase plasma concentrations to those in cardiovascular diseases. Elevated plasma β2M increased pro-inflammatory monocytes, while increased plasma TGFβ increased pro-reparative monocytes. TGFβ receptor (TGFβR) inhibition blunted monocyte responses to both β2M and TGFβ in vivo. Using imaging flow cytometry, we found that β2M decreased monocyte SMAD2/3 nuclear localization, while TGFβ promoted SMAD nuclear translocation, but decreased noncanonical/ inflammatory (JNK and NFκB nuclear localization). This was confirmed in vitro using both imaging flow cytometry and immunoblots. β2M, but not TGFβ, promoted ubiquitination of SMAD3 and SMAD4, that inhibited their nuclear trafficking. Inhibition of ubiquitin ligase activity blocked noncanonical SMAD-independent monocyte signaling and skewed monocytes towards a pro-reparative monocyte response. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that elevated plasma β2M and TGFβ dichotomously polarize monocytes. Furthermore, these immune molecules share a common receptor, but induce SMAD-dependent canonical signaling (TGFβ) versus non-canonical SMAD-independent signaling (β2M) in a ubiquitin ligase dependent manner. This work has broad implications as β2M is increased in several inflammatory conditions, while TGFβ is increased in fibrotic diseases.
- MEDICINA