Macrophages use apoptotic cell-derived methionine and DNMT3A during efferocytosis to promote tissue resolution

Patrick B. Ampomah, Bishuang Cai, Santosh R. Sukka, Brennan D. Gerlach, Arif Yurdagul, Xiaobo Wang, George Kuriakose, Lancia N.F. Darville, Yan Sun, Simone Sidoli, John M. Koomen, Alan R. Tall, Ira Tabas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Efferocytosis, the clearance of apoptotic cells (ACs) by macrophages, is critical for tissue resolution, with defects driving many diseases. Mechanisms of efferocytosis-mediated resolution are incompletely understood. Here, we show that AC-derived methionine regulates resolution through epigenetic repression of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphatase Dusp4. We focus on two key efferocytosis-induced pro-resolving mediators, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1), and show that efferocytosis induces prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2/cyclooxygenase 2 (Ptgs2/COX2), leading to PGE2 synthesis and PGE2-mediated induction of TGF-β1. ERK1/2 phosphorylation/activation by AC-activated CD36 is necessary for Ptgs2 induction, but this is insufficient owing to an ERK−DUSP4 negative feedback pathway that lowers phospho-ERK. However, subsequent AC engulfment and phagolysosomal degradation lead to Dusp4 repression, enabling enhanced p-ERK and induction of the Ptgs2−PGE2−TGF-β1 pathway. Mechanistically, AC-derived methionine is converted to S-adenosylmethionine, which is used by DNA methyltransferase-3A (DNMT3A) to methylate Dusp4. Bone-marrow DNMT3A deletion in mice blocks COX2/PGE2, TGF-β1, and resolution in sterile peritonitis, apoptosis-induced thymus injury and atherosclerosis. Knowledge of how macrophages use AC-cargo and epigenetics to induce resolution provides mechanistic insight and therapeutic options for diseases driven by impaired resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-457
Number of pages14
JournalNature Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


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