GRK6 deficiency in mice causes autoimmune disease due to impaired apoptotic cell clearance

Michio Nakaya, Mitsuru Tajima, Hidetaka Kosako, Takeo Nakaya, Akiko Hashimoto, Kenji Watari, Hiroaki Nishihara, Mina Ohba, Shiori Komiya, Naoki Tani, Motohiro Nishida, Hisaaki Taniguchi, Yoji Sato, Mitsuru Matsumoto, Makoto Tsuda, Masahiko Kuroda, Kazuhide Inoue, Hitoshi Kurose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient engulfment of apoptotic cells is critical for maintaining tissue homoeostasis. When phagocytes recognize 'eat me' signals presented on the surface of apoptotic cells, this subsequently induces cytoskeletal rearrangement of phagocytes for the engulfment through Rac1 activation. However, the intracellular signalling cascades that result in Rac1 activation remain largely unknown. Here we show that G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 6 (GRK6) is involved in apoptotic cell clearance. GRK6 cooperates with GIT1 to activate Rac1, which promotes apoptotic engulfment independently from the two known DOCK180/ELMO/Rac1 and GULP1/Rac1 engulfment pathways. As a consequence, GRK6-deficient mice develop an autoimmune disease. GRK6-deficient mice also have increased iron stores in splenic red pulp in which F4/80 + macrophages are responsible for senescent red blood cell clearance. Our results reveal previously unrecognized roles for GRK6 in regulating apoptotic engulfment and its fundamental importance in immune and iron homoeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1532
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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