1. Cell Biology
  2. Immunology and Inflammation
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Apoptosis: Keeping inflammation at bay

  1. David Wallach  Is a corresponding author
  2. Andrew Kovalenko
  1. The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
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Cite this article as: eLife 2014;3:e02583 doi: 10.7554/eLife.02583
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How do apoptotic cells trigger an anti-inflammatory response in phagocytes?

(A) Phosphatidylserine molecules on the surface of an apoptotic cell can bind to phosphatidylserine receptors on the surface of a phagocyte and previously it was suggested that this triggered an anti-inflammatory gene response. (B) It was also suggested that the direct apoptotic cell–phagocyte interaction shown in A also results in the release of adenosine by the phagocyte: this adenosine can bind to A2a receptors on the surface of the phagocyte and trigger an anti-inflammatory gene response. (C) Yamaguchi et al. found that the apoptotic cell releases a molecule called adenosine monophosphate (AMP) that is converted to adenosine by a 5′-nucleotidase on the surface of the phagocyte. The adenosine can then trigger an anti-inflammatory gene response by binding to A2a receptors. Enzymes called caspases play a central role in apoptosis in a variety of ways. The action of these caspases is required for the exposure of phosphatidylserine on the surface of the apoptotic cells (A and B); they also activate a channel protein called pannexin-1 to allow the release of AMP (C).

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