The immune system monitors the health of cells and is stimulated by necrosis. Here we examined the receptors and ligands driving this response. In a targeted screen of C-type lectin receptors, a Clec2d reporter responded to lysates from necrotic cells. Biochemical purification identified histones, both free and bound to nucleosomes or neutrophil extracellular traps, as Clec2d ligands. Clec2d recognized poly-basic sequences in histone tails and this recognition was sensitive to post-translational modifications of these sequences. As compared with WT mice, Clec2d-/- mice exhibited reduced proinflammatory responses to injected histones, and less tissue damage and improved survival in a hepatotoxic injury model. In macrophages, Clec2d localized to the plasma membrane and endosomes. Histone binding to Clec2d did not stimulate kinase activation or cytokine production. Rather, histone-bound DNA stimulated endosomal Tlr9-dependent responses in a Clec2d-dependent manner. Thus, Clec2d binds to histones released upon necrotic cell death, with functional consequences to inflammation and tissue damage.
Keywords: C-type lectin; Clec2d; DAMPs; Toll-like receptor; histone acetylation; histones; inflammation; liver injury; macrophages; pattern recognition receptor.
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