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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of macrophage MARCO receptor induces formation of dendritic plasma membrane processes.

MARCO is a novel macrophage-specific receptor structurally related to macrophage class A scavenger receptors. It is constitutively expressed in macrophages of the marginal zone of the spleen and in lymph nodes and is up-regulated in other tissues during systemic bacterial infections. In this study, we show that ectopic expression of MARCO in cell lines such as Chinese hamster ovary, HeLa, NIH3T3, and 293 induces dramatic cell shape changes. Typically these changes include formation of large lamellipodia-like structures and of long dendritic processes. The morphological changes are accompanied by disassembly of actin stress fibers and often also by complete loss of focal adhesions. The MARCO-induced changes are dependent on cell adhesion and are inhibited, but not completely abolished, when the cells are plated on fibronectin-coated surfaces. Similarly, a dominant-negative mutant of the Rho family GTPase Rac1 partially inhibited the morphogenic effects of MARCO in Chinese hamster ovary cells, whereas a dominant-negative form of a related protein, Cdc42, did not. Expression studies with a variety of truncated MARCO forms indicated that the proximal segment of the cysteine-rich domain V is important for the morphoregulatory activity. The results indicate that expression of MARCO has a direct effect in generating the phenotype of activated macrophages necessary for the trapping and removal of pathogens and other foreign substances.[1]


  1. Expression of macrophage MARCO receptor induces formation of dendritic plasma membrane processes. Pikkarainen, T., Brännström, A., Tryggvason, K. J. Biol. Chem. (1999) [Pubmed]
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