Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Mammalian target of rapamycin regulates neutrophil extracellular trap formation via induction of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 α

  1. Alison M. McInturff1,2,
  2. Mark J. Cody1,2,
  3. Elizabeth A. Elliott2,
  4. Jared W. Glenn1,3,
  5. Jesse W. Rowley2,4,
  6. Matthew T. Rondina2,4, and
  7. Christian C. Yost1,2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics/Neonatology,
  2. 2Program in Molecular Medicine,
  3. 3Medical Student Research Program, and
  4. 4Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Abstract

Neutrophils are highly specialized innate immune effector cells that evolved for antimicrobial host defense. In response to inflammatory stimuli and pathogens, they form neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which capture and kill extracellular microbes. Deficient NET formation predisposes humans to severe infection, but, paradoxically, dysregulated NET formation contributes to inflammatory vascular injury and tissue damage. The molecular pathways and signaling mechanisms that control NET formation remain largely uncharacterized. Using primary human neutrophils and genetically manipulated myeloid leukocytes differentiated to surrogate neutrophils, we found that mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates NET formation by posttranscriptional control of expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 α (HIF-1α), a critical modulator of antimicrobial defenses. Next-generation RNA sequencing, assays of mRNA and protein expression, and analysis of NET deployment by live cell imaging and quantitative histone release showed that mTOR controls NET formation and translation of HIF-1α mRNA in response to lipopolysaccharide. Pharmacologic and genetic knockdown of HIF-1α expression and activity inhibited NET deployment, and inhibition of mTOR and HIF-1α inhibited NET-mediated extracellular bacterial killing. Our studies define a pathway to NET formation involving 2 master regulators of immune cell function and identify potential points of molecular intervention in strategies to modify NETs in disease.

  • Submitted January 21, 2012.
  • Accepted August 9, 2012.
View Full Text