Molecular control of activation and priming in macrophages

Nat Immunol. 2016 Jan;17(1):26-33. doi: 10.1038/ni.3306.


In tissues, macrophages are exposed to metabolic, homeostatic and immunoregulatory signals of local or systemic origin that influence their basal functions and responses to danger signals. Signal-transduction pathways regulated by extracellular signals are coupled to distinct sets of broadly expressed stimulus-regulated transcription factors whose ability to elicit gene-expression changes is influenced by the accessibility of their binding sites in the macrophage genome. In turn, accessibility of macrophage-specific transcriptional regulatory elements (enhancers and promoters) is specified by transcription factors that determine the macrophage lineage or impose their tissue-specific properties. Here we review recent findings that advance the understanding of mechanisms underlying priming and signal-dependent activation of macrophages and discuss the effect of genetic variation on these processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / immunology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Macrophage Activation / immunology*
  • Macrophages* / cytology
  • Macrophages* / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / immunology