The Phosphatidylserine Receptor TIM-4 Does Not Mediate Direct Signaling

Daeho Park, Amelia Hochreiter-Hufford, Kodi S. Ravichandran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Engulfment of apoptotic cells is an active process coordinated by receptors on phagocytes and ligands on apoptotic cells [1]. Phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) is a key ligand on apoptotic cells, and recently three PtdSer recognition receptors have been identified, namely, TIM-4, BAI1, and Stabilin-2 [1-6]. Whereas BAI1 is dependent on the ELMO1/Dock180/Rac signaling module, and Stablilin-2 appears to use the intracellular adaptor GULP [2, 3, 7], little is known about how TIM-4 transduces signals downstream of PtdSer recognition [8]. To test the role of known engulfment signaling pathways in TIM-4-mediated engulfment, we used a combination of dominant-negative mutants, knockdown of specific signaling proteins, and knockout cell lines. TIM-4 appears to be largely independent of the two known engulfment signaling pathways [7, 9-17], yet the TIM-4-mediated uptake is inhibited by cytoskeleton disrupting drugs. Remarkably, a version of TIM-4 lacking its cytoplasmic tail promoted corpse uptake via PtdSer recognition. Moreover, replacement of the transmembrane region of TIM-4 with a glycophosphatidylinositol anchor still promoted engulfment comparable to wild-type TIM-4. Thus, the transmembrane region and cytoplasmic tail of TIM-4 are dispensable for apoptotic cell engulfment, and we propose that TIM-4 is a PtdSer tethering receptor without any direct signaling of its own.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-351
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 24 2009




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