Variants of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) are associated with an increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other neurodegenerative disorders. Using a newly developed, highly sensitive reporter cell model, consisting of Jurkat T cells stably overexpressing a reporter gene and a gene encoding TREM2DAP12 fusion protein, we show here that TREM2-dependent signal transduction in response to apoptotic Neuro2a cells is mediated by aminophospholipid ligands, phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine, which are not exposed on the intact cell surface, but become exposed upon apoptosis. We also show that signal-transducing TREM2 ligands different from aminophospholipids, which appear to be derived from neurons, might be present in membrane fractions of mouse cerebral cortex. These results may suggest that TREM2 regulates microglial function by transducing intracellular signals from aminophospholipids on apoptotic cells, as well as unidentified ligands in the membranes of the cerebral cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7508
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


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