Essential roles of SIRPα in homeostatic regulation of skin dendritic cells.
ABSTRACT Signal regulatory protein α (SIRPα) is an immunoglobulin superfamily protein that is predominantly expressed in dendritic cells (DCs). Its cytoplasmic region binds SHP-1 or SHP-2 protein tyrosine phosphatases, while its extracellular region interacts with CD47, another immunoglobulin superfamily protein, constituting cell-cell signaling. SIRPα was previously shown to be important for development of contact hypersensitivity, likely as a result of its positive regulation of the priming by DCs of CD4(+) T cells. However, the mechanism by which SIRPα regulates DC functions remains unknown. Here we found that the number of I-A(+) cells, which represent migratory DCs such as Langerhans cells (LCs) or dermal DCs from the skin, in the peripheral lymph nodes (LNs) was markedly decreased in mice expressing a mutant form of SIRPα that lacks the cytoplasmic region compared with that of wild-type (WT) mice. In addition, an increase of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-bearing I-A(+) cells in the draining lymph nodes (LNs) after skin-painting with FITC was markedly blunted in SIRPα mutant mice. However, migratory ability, as well as expression of CCR7, of bone marrow-derived DCs prepared from SIRPα mutant mice were not impaired. By contrast, the number of I-A(+) LCs in the epidermis of SIRPα mutant mice was markedly decreased compared with that of WT mice. In addition, the mRNA expression of transforming growth factor-β receptor II in LCs of SIRPα mutant mice was markedly decreased compared with that of WT mice. These results suggest that SIRPα is important for homeostasis of LCs in the skin, as well as of migratory DCs in the LNs, but unlikely for migration of these cells from the skin to draining LNs.