Cutting Edge: Marginal Zone Macrophages Regulate Antigen Transport by B Cells to the Follicle in the Spleen via CD21

J Immunol. 2016 Sep 15;197(6):2063-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1502282. Epub 2016 Aug 15.


Marginal zone macrophages (MZM) are strategically located in the spleen, lining the marginal sinus where they sense inflammation and capture Ag from the circulation. One of the receptors expressed by MZM is scavenger receptor macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO), which has affinity for modified self-antigens. In this article, we show that engagement of MARCO on murine macrophages induces extracellular ATP and loss of CD21 and CD62L on marginal zone B cells. Engagement of MARCO also leads to reduction of Ag transport by marginal zone B cells and affects the subsequent immune response. This study highlights a novel function for MZM in regulating Ag transport and activation, and we suggest that MARCO-dependent ATP release regulates this through shedding of CD21 and CD62L. Because systemic lupus erythematosus patients were shown to acquire autoantibodies against MARCO, this highlights a mechanism that could affect a patient's ability to combat infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antigens / metabolism*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • L-Selectin / physiology
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Complement 3d / physiology*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / physiology
  • Spleen / immunology*


  • Antigens
  • Marco protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Complement 3d
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • L-Selectin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate