CD13 mediates phagocytosis in human monocytic cells

J Leukoc Biol. 2015 Jul;98(1):85-98. doi: 10.1189/jlb.2A0914-458R. Epub 2015 May 1.


CD13 is a membrane-bound ectopeptidase, highly expressed on monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. CD13 is involved in diverse functions, including degradation of peptide mediators, cellular adhesion, migration, viral endocytosis, signaling, and positive modulation of phagocytosis mediated by FcγRs and other phagocytic receptors. In this work, we explored whether besides acting as an accessory receptor, CD13 by itself is a primary phagocytic receptor. We found that hCD13 mediates efficient phagocytosis of large particles (erythrocytes) modified so as to interact with the cell only through CD13 in human macrophages and THP-1 monocytic cells. The extent of this phagocytosis is comparable with the phagocytosis mediated through the canonical phagocytic receptor FcγRI. Furthermore, we demonstrated that hCD13 expression in the nonphagocytic cell line HEK293 is sufficient to enable these cells to internalize particles bound through hCD13. CD13-mediated phagocytosis is independent of other phagocytic receptors, as it occurs in the absence of FcγRs, CR3, and most phagocytic receptors. Phagocytosis through CD13 is independent of its enzymatic activity but is dependent on actin rearrangement and activation of PI3K and is partially dependent on Syk activation. Moreover, the cross-linking of CD13 with antibodies rapidly induced pSyk in human macrophages. Finally, we observed that antibody-mediated cross-linking of hCD13, expressed in the murine macrophage-like J774 cell line, induces production of ROS. These results demonstrate that CD13 is a fully competent phagocytic receptor capable of mediating internalization of large particles.

Keywords: aminopeptidase N; macrophages; phagocytic receptor.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Animals
  • CD13 Antigens / physiology*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • CD13 Antigens