The chemokine fractalkine inhibits Fas-mediated cell death of brain microglia.

Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc., San Diego, CA 92121, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 08/2000; 165(1):397-403. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.165.1.397
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fractalkine is a CX3C-family chemokine, highly and constitutively expressed on the neuronal cell surface, for which a clear CNS physiological function has yet to be determined. Its cognate receptor, CX3CR-1, is constitutively expressed on microglia, the brain-resident macrophages; however, these cells do not express fractalkine. We now show that treatment of microglia with fractalkine maintains cell survival and inhibits Fas ligand-induced cell death in vitro. Biochemical characterization indicates that this occurs via mechanisms that may include 1) activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/protein kinase B pathway, resulting in phosphorylation and blockade of the proapoptotic functions of BAD; 2) up-regulation of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-xL; and 3) inhibition of the cleavage of BH3-interacting domain death agonist (BID). The observation that fractalkine serves as a survival factor for primary microglia in part by modulating the protein levels and the phosphorylation status of Bcl-2 family proteins reveals a novel physiological role for chemokines. These results, therefore, suggest that the interaction between fractalkine and CX3CR-1 may play an important role in promoting and preserving microglial cell survival in the CNS.

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