Growth arrest-specific protein 6 (Gas6)/Mer receptor tyrosine kinase (Mer) signaling modulates cytokine secretion and helps to regulate the immune response and apoptotic cell clearance. Signaling pathways that activate an epithelial growth program in macrophages are still poorly defined. We report that Gas6/Mer/RhoA signaling can induce the production of epithelial growth factor hepatic growth factor (HGF) in macrophages, which ultimately promotes epithelial cell proliferation and wound repair. The RhoA/protein kinase B (Akt)/mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, including p38 MAP kinase, extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase, and Jun NH2-terminal kinase axis in RAW 264.7 cells, was identified as Gas6/Mer downstream signaling pathway for the upregulation of HGF mRNA and protein. Conditioned medium from RAW 264.7 cells that had been exposed to Gas6 or apoptotic cells enhanced epithelial cell proliferation of the epithelial cell line LA-4 and wound closure. Cotreatment with an HGF receptor-blocking antibody or c-Met antagonist downregulated this enhancement. Inhibition of Mer with small interfering RNA (siRNA) or the RhoA/Rho kinase pathway by RhoA siRNA or Rho kinase pharmacologic inhibitor suppressed Gas6-induced HGF mRNA and protein expression in macrophages and blocked epithelial cell proliferation and wound closure induced by the conditioned medium. Our data provide evidence that macrophages can be reprogrammed by Gas6 to promote epithelial proliferation and wound repair via HGF, which is induced by the Mer/RhoA/Akt/MAP kinase pathway. Thus, defects in Gas6/Mer/RhoA signaling in macrophages may delay tissue repair after injury to the alveolar epithelium.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics|
|State||Published - Sep 2014|