GM-CSF regulates alveolar macrophage differentiation and innate immunity in the lung through PU.1

Immunity. 2001 Oct;15(4):557-67. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(01)00218-7.


GM-CSF gene targeted (GM(-/-)) mice are susceptible to respiratory infections and develop alveolar proteinosis due to defects in innate immune function and surfactant catabolism in alveolar macrophages (AMs), respectively. Reduced cell adhesion, phagocytosis, pathogen killing, mannose- and Toll-like receptor expression, and LPS- or peptidoglycan-stimulated TNFalpha release were observed in AMs from GM(-/-) mice. The transcription factor PU.1 was markedly reduced in AMs of GM(-/-) mice in vivo and was restored by selective expression of GM-CSF in the lungs of SPC-GM/GM(-/-) transgenic mice. Retrovirus-mediated expression of PU.1 in AMs from GM(-/-) mice rescued host defense functions and surfactant catabolism by AMs. We conclude that PU.1 mediates GM-CSF-dependent effects on terminal differentiation of AMs regulating innate immune functions and surfactant catabolism by AMs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / physiology*
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / cytology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / immunology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / microbiology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological
  • Phagocytosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*
  • Transfection


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Trans-Activators
  • proto-oncogene protein Spi-1
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor