Fernando Martinez Estrada

Dr Fernando Martinez Estrada

Senior Lecturer in Innate Immunology



2023 Senior Lecturer in Immunology, Department of Biochemical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

2016 Lecturer in Immunology, Department of Biochemical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK & Honorary Senior Research Associate, Botnar Research Centre, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, NDORMS, University of Oxford.

2012-2016 Senior research associate, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford.

2006-2012 Postdoctoral researcher, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK.

2000-2006 Postgraduate and PhD student, University of Milan, Italy.

Research interests

I am originally from Havana,Cuba, where I graduated as a Biochemist to then pursue a doctorate in Molecular Medicine and Immunology in Milan,Italy; I then joined Oxford University.

My main objectives in science are to understand how macrophages participate in disease pathogenesis and to identify new avenues to interfere with their deleterious properties. Macrophages are present in all tissues, numerous, and their role in inflammation is primarily controlled by modulation of their gene and protein repertoire. The transcriptome of macrophages holds the key to the fundamental question in macrophage pathobiology and inflammatory medicine: how to inactivate and reprogramme the macrophage.

My areas of expertise are macrophage cellular and systems biology (isolation-culture, gene and proteomic signatures, microarrays, proteomics, functional analysis), regulation of macrophage activation, and modern pathology. I use techniques to complement my transcriptome work, including conventional histological techniques, and modern developments such as multiple immunofluorescence histology, multiple FACS staining and Cytof. The application of the knowledge that I derive with my tools, allows reinterpretation of conventional paradigms and proposals of new ways of understanding disease and potential treatments.


Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada, Theo W. Combes, Federica Orsenigo, Siamon Gordon (2020)Monocyte activation in systemic Covid-19 infection: Assay and rationale, In: EBioMedicine59102964pp. 102964-102964 Elsevier

Mononuclear phagocytes are a widely distributed family of cells contributing to innate and adaptive immunity. Circulating monocytes and tissue macrophages participate in all stages of SARS COVID-19. They contribute to comorbidities predisposing to clinical infection, virus resistance and dissemination, and to host factors that determine disease severity, recovery and sequelae. Assays are available to detect viral infection and antibody responses, but no adequate tests have been developed to measure the activation level of monocytes and tissue macrophages, and the risk of progression to a fatal hyperinflammatory syndrome. Blood monocytes provide a window on the systemic immune response, from production to tissue recruitment, reflecting the impact of infection on the host. Ready availability of blood makes it possible to monitor severity and the risk of potentially lethal complications, by developing tests to assess the status of monocyte activation and its potential for further inflammatory dysregulation after recruitment to tissues and during recovery.

Elsa du Bruyn, Cari Stek, Remi Daroowala, Qonita Said-Hartley, Marvin Hsiao, Georgia Schafer, Rene T Goliath, Fatima Abrahams, Amanda Jackson, Sean Wasserman, Brian W Allwood, Angharad G Davis, Rachel P-J Lai, Anna K Coussens, Katalin A Wilkinson, Jantina de Vries, Nicki Tiffin, Maddalena Cerrone, Ntobeko A B Ntusi, Catherine Riou, Robert J Wilkinson, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2023)Effects of tuberculosis and/or HIV-1 infection on COVID-19 presentation and immune response in Africa, In: Nature communications14(1)188pp. 188-188

Few studies from Africa have described the clinical impact of co-infections on SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we investigate the presentation and outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection in an African setting of high HIV-1 and tuberculosis prevalence by an observational case cohort of SARS-CoV-2 patients. A comparator group of non SARS-CoV-2 participants is included. The study includes 104 adults with SARS-CoV-2 infection of whom 29.8% are HIV-1 co-infected. Two or more co-morbidities are present in 57.7% of participants, including HIV-1 (30%) and active tuberculosis (14%). Amongst patients dually infected by tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2, clinical features can be typical of either SARS-CoV-2 or tuberculosis: lymphopenia is exacerbated, and some markers of inflammation (D-dimer and ferritin) are further elevated (p 

Andrew C. Sayce, Fernando O. Martinez, Beatrice E. Tyrrell, Nilanka Perera, Michelle L. Hill, Raymond A. Dwek, Joanna L. Miller, Nicole Zitzmann (2021)Pathogen-induced inflammation is attenuated by the iminosugar MON-DNJ via modulation of the unfolded protein response, In: Immunology164(3)pp. 587-601 Wiley

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition involving a dysregulated immune response to infectious agents that cause injury to host tissues and organs. Current treatments are limited to early administration of antibiotics and supportive care. While appealing, the strategy of targeted inhibition of individual molecules in the inflammatory cascade has not proved beneficial. Non-targeted, systemic immunosuppression with steroids has shown limited efficacy and raises concern for secondary infection. Iminosugars are a class of small molecule glycomimetics with distinct inhibition profiles for glycan processing enzymes based on stereochemistry. Inhibition of host endoplasmic reticulum resident glycoprotein processing enzymes has demonstrated efficacy as a broad-spectrum antiviral strategy, but limited consideration has been given to the effects on host glycoprotein production and consequent disruption of signalling cascades. This work demonstrates that iminosugars inhibit dengue virus, bacterial lipopolysaccharide and fungal antigen-stimulated cytokine responses in human macrophages. In spite of decreased inflammatory mediator production, viral replication is suppressed in the presence of iminosugar. Transcriptome analysis reveals the key interaction of pathogen-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress, the resulting unfolded protein response and inflammation. Our work shows that iminosugars modulate these interactions. Based on these findings, we propose a new therapeutic role for iminosugars as treatment for sepsis-related inflammatory disorders associated with excess cytokine secretion.

Thomas T Tapmeier, Nilufer Rahmioglu, Jianghai Lin, Bianca De Leo, Maik Obendorf, Muthuswamy Raveendran, Oliver M Fischer, Cemsel Bafligil, Manman Guo, Ronald Alan Harris, Holger Hess-Stumpp, Alexis Laux-Biehlmann, Ernesto Lowy, Gerton Lunter, Jessica Malzahn, Nicholas G Martin, Fernando O Martinez, Sanjiv Manek, Stefanie Mesch, Grant W Montgomery, Andrew P Morris, Jens Nagel, Heather A Simmons, Denise Brocklebank, Catherine Shang, Susan Treloar, Graham Wells, Christian M Becker, Udo Oppermann, Thomas M Zollner, Stephen H Kennedy, Joseph W Kemnitz, Jeffrey Rogers, Krina T Zondervan (2021)Neuropeptide S receptor 1 is a nonhormonal treatment target in endometriosis, In: Science translational medicine13(608)eabd6469

Endometriosis is a common chronic inflammatory condition causing pelvic pain and infertility in women, with limited treatment options and 50% heritability. We leveraged genetic analyses in two species with spontaneous endometriosis, humans and the rhesus macaque, to uncover treatment targets. We sequenced DNA from 32 human families contributing to a genetic linkage signal on chromosome 7p13-15 and observed significant overrepresentation of predicted deleterious low-frequency coding variants in , the gene encoding neuropeptide S receptor 1, in cases (predominantly stage III/IV) versus controls ( = 7.8 × 10 ). Significant linkage to the region orthologous to human 7p13-15 was replicated in a pedigree of 849 rhesus macaques ( = 0.0095). Targeted association analyses in 3194 surgically confirmed, unrelated cases and 7060 controls revealed that a common insertion/deletion variant, rs142885915, was significantly associated with stage III/IV endometriosis ( = 5.2 × 10 ; odds ratio, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.39). Immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR, and flow cytometry experiments demonstrated that NPSR1 was expressed in glandular epithelium from eutopic and ectopic endometrium, and on monocytes in peritoneal fluid. The NPSR1 inhibitor SHA 68R blocked NPSR1-mediated signaling, proinflammatory TNF-α release, and monocyte chemotaxis in vitro (< 0.01), and led to a significant reduction of inflammatory cell infiltrate and abdominal pain (< 0.05) in a mouse model of peritoneal inflammation as well as in a mouse model of endometriosis. We conclude that the NPSR1/NPS system is a genetically validated, nonhormonal target for the treatment of endometriosis with likely increased relevance to stage III/IV disease.

Jorge Gutierrez-Merino, Beatriz Isla, Theo Combes, Fernando Martinez-Estrada, Carlos Maluquer de Motes (2020)Beneficial bacteria activate type-I interferon production via the intracellular cytosolic sensors STING and MAVS, In: Gut Microbes Taylor & Francis

Type-I interferon (IFN-I) cytokines are produced by immune cells in response to microbial infections, 2cancer and autoimmune diseases, and subsequently trigger cytoprotective and antiviral responses through the activation of IFN-I stimulated genes (ISGs). The ability of intestinal microbiota to modulate innate immune responses is well-known, but the mechanisms underlying such responses remain elusive. Here we report that the intracellular sensors stimulator of IFN genes (STING) and mitochondrial antiviral signalling (MAVS) are essential for the production of IFN-I in response to lactic acid bacteria (LAB), common gut commensal bacteria with beneficial properties. Using human macrophage cells we show that LAB strains that potently activate the inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB are poor inducers of IFN-I and conversely, those triggering significant amounts of IFN-I fail to activate NF-κB. This IFN-I response is also observed in human primary macrophages, which modulate CD64 and CD40 upon challenge with IFN-I-inducing LAB. Mechanistically, IFN-I inducers interact more intimately with phagocytes as compared to NF-κB-inducers, and fail to activate IFN-I in the presence of phagocytosis inhibitors. These bacteria are then sensed intracellularly by the cytoplasmic sensors STING and, to a lesser extent, MAVS. Accordingly, macrophages deficient for STING showed dramatically reduced phosphorylation of TANK-binding kinase (TBK)-1 and IFN-I activation, which resulted in lower expression of ISGs. Our findings demonstrate a major role for intracellular sensing and STING in the production of IFN-I by beneficial bacteria and the existence of bacteria-specific immune signatures, which can be exploited to promote cytoprotective responses and prevent overreactive NF-κB-dependent inflammation in the gut.

Pooja Agarwal, Siamon Gordon, Fernando O. Martinez (2021)Foam Cell Macrophages in Tuberculosis, In: Frontiers in immunology12775326pp. 775326-775326 Frontiers Media Sa

Mycobacterium tuberculosis infects primarily macrophages in the lungs. Infected macrophages are surrounded by other immune cells in well organised structures called granulomata. As part of the response to TB, a type of macrophage loaded with lipid droplets arises which we call Foam cell macrophages. They are macrophages filled with lipid laden droplets, which are synthesised in response to increased uptake of extracellular lipids, metabolic changes and infection itself. They share the appearance with atherosclerosis foam cells, but their lipid contents and roles are different. In fact, lipid droplets are immune and metabolic organelles with emerging roles in Tuberculosis. Here we discuss lipid droplet and foam cell formation, evidence regarding the inflammatory and immune properties of foam cells in TB, and address gaps in our knowledge to guide further research.

Marie-Laëtitia Thézénas, Bianca De Leo, Alexis Laux-Biehlmann, Cemsel Bafligil, Bernd Elger, Thomas Tapmeier, Karl Morten, Nilufer Rahmioglu, Stephanie G Dakin, Philip Charles, Fernando Estrada Martinez, Graham Steers, Oliver M Fischer, Joerg Mueller, Holger Hess-Stumpp, Andreas Steinmeyer, Sanjiv Manek, Krina T Zondervan, Stephen Kennedy, Christian M Becker, Catherine Shang, Thomas M Zollner, Benedikt M Kessler, Udo Oppermann, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2020)Author Correction: Amine oxidase 3 is a novel pro-inflammatory marker of oxidative stress in peritoneal endometriosis lesions, In: Scientific reports10(1)5665pp. 5665-5665

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

Manman Guo, Cemsel Bafligil, Thomas Tapmeier, Carol Hubbard, Sanjiv Manek, Catherine Shang, Fernando O. Martinez, Nicole Schmidt, Maik Obendorf, Holger Hess-Stumpp, Thomas M. Zollner, Stephen Kennedy, Christian M. Becker, Krina T. Zondervan, Adam P. Cribbs, Udo Oppermann, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2020)Mass cytometry analysis reveals a distinct immune environment in peritoneal fluid in endometriosis: a characterisation study, In: BMC medicine18(1)3pp. 3-3 Springer Nature

Background Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition characterised by immune cell infiltration and distinct inflammatory signatures found in the peritoneal cavity. In this study, we aim to characterise the immune microenvironment in samples isolated from the peritoneal cavity in patients with endometriosis. Methods We applied mass cytometry (CyTOF), a recently developed multiparameter single-cell technique, in order to characterise and quantify the immune cells found in peritoneal fluid and peripheral blood from endometriosis and control patients. Results Our results demonstrate the presence of more than 40 different distinct immune cell types within the peritoneal cavity. This suggests that there is a complex and highly heterogeneous inflammatory microenvironment underpinning the pathology of endometriosis. Stratification by clinical disease stages reveals a dynamic spectrum of cell signatures suggesting that adaptations in the inflammatory system occur due to the severity of the disease. Notably, among the inflammatory microenvironment in peritoneal fluid (PF), the presence of CD69(+) T cell subsets is increased in endometriosis when compared to control patient samples. On these CD69(+) cells, the expression of markers associated with T cell function are reduced in PF samples compared to blood. Comparisons between CD69(+) and CD69(-) populations reveal distinct phenotypes across peritoneal T cell lineages. Taken together, our results suggest that both the innate and the adaptive immune system play roles in endometriosis. Conclusions This study provides a systematic characterisation of the specific immune environment in the peritoneal cavity and identifies cell immune signatures associated with endometriosis. Overall, our results provide novel insights into the specific cell phenotypes governing inflammation in patients with endometriosis. This prospective study offers a useful resource for understanding disease pathology and opportunities for identifying therapeutic targets.

Marie-Laëtitia Thézénas, Bianca De Leo, Alexis Laux-Biehlmann, Cemsel Bafligil, Bernd Elger, Thomas Tapmeier, Karl Morten, Nilufer Rahmioglu, Stephanie G Dakin, Philip Charles, Fernando Estrada Martinez, Graham Steers, Oliver M Fischer, Joerg Mueller, Holger Hess-Stumpp, Andreas Steinmeyer, Sanjiv Manek, Krina T Zondervan, Stephen Kennedy, Christian M Becker, Catherine Shang, Thomas M Zollner, Benedikt M Kessler, Udo Oppermann, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2020)Amine oxidase 3 is a novel pro-inflammatory marker of oxidative stress in peritoneal endometriosis lesions, In: Scientific reports10(1)1495pp. 1495-1495

Endometriosis is a common gynaecological disease of women in reproductive age, and is thought to arise from retrograde menstruation and implantation of endometrial tissue, mostly into the peritoneal cavity. The condition is characterized by a chronic, unresolved inflammatory process thereby contributing to pain as cardinal symptom in endometriosis. Elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress have been postulated as factors in endometriosis pathogenesis. We here set out for a systematic study to identify novel mechanisms and pathways relating to oxidative stress in ectopic peritoneal lesions. Using combined proteomic and transcriptomic approaches, we identified novel targets including upregulated pro-oxidative enzymes, such as amine oxidase 3/vascular adhesion protein 1 (AOC3/VAP1) as well as downregulated protective factors, in particular alkenal reductase PTGR1 and methionine sulfoxide reductase. Consistent with an altered ROS landscape, we observed hemoglobin / iron overload, ROS production and lipid peroxidation in ectopic lesions. ROS-derived 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal induced interleukin IL-8 release from monocytes. Notably, AOC3 inhibitors provoked analgesic effects in inflammatory pain models in vivo, suggesting potential translational applicability.

Antoni Olona, Subhankar Mukhopadhyay, Charlotte Hateley, Fernando O Martinez, Siamon Gordon, Jacques Behmoaras, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2021)Adipoclast: a multinucleated fat-eating macrophage, In: BMC biology19(1)246pp. 246-246

Cell membrane fusion and multinucleation in macrophages are associated with physiologic homeostasis as well as disease. Osteoclasts are multinucleated macrophages that resorb bone through increased metabolic activity resulting from cell fusion. Fusion of macrophages also generates multinucleated giant cells (MGCs) in white adipose tissue (WAT) of obese individuals. For years, our knowledge of MGCs in WAT has been limited to their description as part of crown-like structures (CLS) surrounding damaged adipocytes. However, recent evidence indicates that these cells can phagocytose oversized lipid remnants, suggesting that, as in osteoclasts, cell fusion and multinucleation are required for specialized catabolic functions. We thus reason that WAT MGCs can be viewed as functionally analogous to osteoclasts and refer to them in this article as adipoclasts. We first review current knowledge on adipoclasts and their described functions. In view of recent advances in single cell genomics, we describe WAT macrophages from a 'fusion perspective' and speculate on the ontogeny of adipoclasts. Specifically, we highlight the role of CD9 and TREM2, two plasma membrane markers of lipid-associated macrophages in WAT, which have been previously described as regulators of fusion and multinucleation in osteoclasts and MGCs. Finally, we consider whether strategies aiming to target WAT macrophages can be more selectively directed against adipoclasts.

Zita Kruize, Viviana Cobos Jiménez, Fernando O. Martinez, Riccardo Di Vincenzo, Karel A. van Dort, Ad C. van Nuenen, Thijs Booiman, Neeltje A. Kootstra, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2021)CD9 and ITGA3 are regulated during HIV-1 infection in macrophages to support viral replication, In: Virology (New York, N.Y.)5629pp. 9-18 Elsevier Inc

Monocytes/macrophages are important target cells for HIV-1. Here, we investigated whether HIV-1 induces changes in the macrophage gene expression profile to support viral replication. We observed that the macrophage gene expression profiles dramatically changed upon HIV-1 infection. The majority of the HIV-1 regulated genes were also differentially expressed in M2a macrophages. The biological functions associated with the HIV-1 induced gene expression profile in macrophages were mainly related to inflammatory responses. CD9 and ITGA3 were among the top genes upregulated upon HIV-1 infection. We showed that these genes support viral replication and that downregulation of these genes decreased HIV-1 replication in macrophages. Here we showed that HIV-1 infection of macrophages induces a gene expression profile that may dampen inflammatory responses. CD9 and ITGA3 were among the top genes regulated by HIV-1 and were shown to support viral production most likely at the level of viral budding and release. •Genes regulated by HIV-1 infection in macrophages are also regulated during M2a polarization.•CD9 and ITGA3 are upregulated in macrophages upon HIV-1 infection.•CD9 and ITGA3 supports HIV-1 replication.•Downregulation CD9 and ITGA3 lowered HIV-1 production.

Fernando O Martinez (2012)Analysis of gene expression and gene silencing in human macrophages, In: Current protocols in immunologyChapter 14(1)pp. Unit 14.28.1-14.28.23 Wiley

This unit describes how to execute a gene expression study with human macrophages. It includes protocols for human macrophage preparation, RNA extraction, real-time PCR analysis, and microarray analysis. The unit also includes a protocol for gene silencing in human macrophages. Altering gene expression can be useful to study the contribution of the gene to macrophage function or even expression of other genes.

Fernando O Martinez, M. Locati (2006)Analysis of global gene expression profiles activated by chemoattractant receptors, In: Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)332pp. 313-329

Microarrays are made by immobilizing to a solid support thousands of DNA probes that detect soluble complementary target sequences using the hybridization pairing rules of nucleic acids. Receptor triggering induces a cascade of signaling events that often involves the modulation of gene expression. In the last decade, the development of microarrays has provided scientists with an innovative tool to interrogate the cell transcriptional profile at a global level and to characterize genes according to their behavior in different conditions. This chapter outlines the use of microarrays as an innovative approach to study the global effect of transmembrane-receptor triggering. The effect of formyl peptides receptors activation on the gene transcriptional program of human monocytes is described as a model.

Fernando O Martinez, S Gordon (2014)The M1 and M2 paradigm of macrophage activation: time for reassessment, In: F1000 prime reports6pp. 13-13

Macrophages are endowed with a variety of receptors for lineage-determining growth factors, T helper (Th) cell cytokines, and B cell, host, and microbial products. In tissues, macrophages mature and are activated in a dynamic response to combinations of these stimuli to acquire specialized functional phenotypes. As for the lymphocyte system, a dichotomy has been proposed for macrophage activation: classic vs. alternative, also M1 and M2, respectively. In view of recent research about macrophage functions and the increasing number of immune-relevant ligands, a revision of the model is needed. Here, we assess how cytokines and pathogen signals influence their functional phenotypes and the evidence for M1 and M2 functions and revisit a paradigm initially based on the role of a restricted set of selected ligands in the immune response.

S Gordon, Laura Helming, Fernando O Martinez (2014)Alternative Activation of Macrophages: Concepts and Prospects, In: Macrophages: Biology and Role in the Pathology of Diseasespp. 59-76 Springer New York

Macrophages of the body represent a widely dispersed, versatile, and highly responsive homeostatic and defense system. They contribute to innate as well as adaptive immunity to infection, mediating trophic as well as injurious interactions with their local and systemic environment. The concept of macrophage activation has evolved over recent decades, from relatively simple paradigms to bewildering complexity. This chapter will review the background to present understanding of alternative activation of macrophages, consider its relevance to health and disease, and suggest questions for future studies.

Ronny Milde, Matthieu Pesant, M. Locati, Fernando O Martinez (2014)The Macrophage Transcriptome, In: Macrophages: Biology and Role in the Pathology of Diseasespp. 559-585 Springer New York

Macrophages are specialized but versatile cells that participate in a range of physiological and immune related processes. The macrophage repertoire of coding and regulatory RNA provides tools to understand cell identity, cell function, role in disease, and ultimately define cell specific therapeutic targets. Modern tools make it possible to quantify and compare global RNA levels. With this vast information a neologism of the decade, the suffix “ome” has been combined with “transcript” to form “transcriptome,” a new word to define the totality of transcripts that characterize a cell. In this chapter we discuss the macrophage transcriptome and how its definition is contributing to a deeper understanding of this cell identity and function.

Theo W Combes, Federica Orsenigo, Alexander Stewart, A S Jeewaka R Mendis, Deborah Dunn-Walters, Siamon Gordon, Fernando O Martinez (2021)CSF1R defines the Mononuclear Phagocyte System lineage in human blood in health and COVID-19, In: Immunotherapy Advances Oxford University Press

Mononuclear Phagocytes defend tissues, present antigens and mediate recovery and healing. To date we lack a marker to unify mononuclear phagocytes in humans or that informs us about their origin. Here, we reassess Mononuclear Phagocyte ontogeny in human blood through the lineage receptor CSF1R, in the steady state and in COVID-19. We define CSF1R as the first sensitive and reproducible pan-phagocyte lineage marker, to identify and enumerate all conventional monocytes, and the myeloid dendritic cells. In the steady state CSF1R is sufficient for sorting and immuno-magnetic isolation. In pathology, changes in CSF1R are more sensitive than CD14 and CD16. In COVID-19, a significant drop in membrane CSF1R is useful for stratifying patients, beyond the power of cell categories published thus far, which fail to capture COVID-19 specific events. Importantly, CSF1R defines cells which are neither conventional monocytes nor DCs, which are missed in published analysis. CSF1R decrease can be linked ex vivo to high CSF1 levels. Blood assessment of CSF1R+ cells opens a developmental window to the Mononuclear Phagocyte System in transit from bone marrow to tissues, supports isolation and phenotypic characterisation, identifies novel cell types, and singles out CSF1R inhibition as therapeutic target in COVID-19 and other diseases.

M. Locati, E. Riboldi, Karel Otero, Fernando O Martinez, F. Riva, P Perrier, S. Baviera, P. Signorelli, R. Bonecchi, P Allavena, S. Sozzani, A Mantovani (2001)Regulation of the chemokine system at the level of chemokine receptor expression and signaling activity, In: Immunobiology [e-journal] Elsevier
Nicola Tamassia, Vincent Le Moigne, Federica Calzetti, Marta Donini, Sara Gasperini, Thornin Ear, Alexandre Cloutier, Fernando O Martinez, Marco Fabbri, Massimo Locati, Alberto Mantovani, Patrick P. McDonald, Marco A. Cassatella (2007)The MYD88-independent pathway is not mobilized in human neutrophils stimulated via TLR4, In: The journal of immunology
MDB van de Garde, F Martinez Estrada, BN Melgert, MN Hylkema, RE Jonkers, J Hamann (2014)Chronic Exposure to Glucocorticoids Shapes Gene Expression and Modulates Innate and Adaptive Activation Pathways in Macrophages with Distinct Changes in Leukocyte Attraction, In: Journal of Immunology192pp. 1196-1208 American Association of Immunologists

Glucocorticoids (GCs) have been used for more than 50 y as immunosuppressive drugs, yet their efficacy in macrophage-dominated disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is debated. Little is known how long-term GC treatment affects macrophage responses in inflammatory conditions. In this study, we compared the transcriptome of human macrophages, matured in the presence or absence of fluticasone propionate (FP), and their ability to initiate or sustain classical activation, mimicked using acute LPS and chronic IFN-γ stimulation, respectively. We identified macrophage gene expression networks, modulated by FP long-term exposure, and specific patterns of IFN-γ– and LPS-induced genes that were resistant, inhibited, or exacerbated by FP. Results suggest that long-term treatment with GCs weakens adaptive immune signature components of IFN-γ and LPS gene profiles by downmodulating MHC class II and costimulatory molecules, but strengthens innate signature components by maintaining and increasing expression of chemokines involved in phagocyte attraction. In a mouse model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, GC treatment induced higher chemokine levels, and this correlated with enhanced recruitment of leukocytes. Thus, GCs do not generally suppress macrophage effector functions, but they cause a shift in the innate–adaptive balance of the immune response, with distinct changes in the chemokine–chemokine receptor network.

Jorge Gutierrez, Beatriz Isla, Theo Combes, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada, Carlos Maluquer de Motes (2020)Beneficial bacteria activate type-I interferon production via the intracellular cytosolic sensors STING and MAVS, In: Gut Microbes Taylor and Francis

Type-I interferon (IFN-I) cytokines are produced by immune cells in response to microbial infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases, and subsequently, trigger cytoprotective and antiviral responses through the activation of IFN-I stimulated genes (ISGs). The ability of intestinal microbiota to modulate innate immune responses is well known, but the mechanisms underlying such responses remain elusive. Here we report that the intracellular sensors stimulator of IFN genes (STING) and mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) are essential for the production of IFN-I in response to lactic acid bacteria (LAB), common gut commensal bacteria with beneficial properties. Using human macrophage cells we show that LAB strains that potently activate the inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB are poor inducers of IFN-I and conversely, those triggering significant amounts of IFN-I fail to activate NF-κB. This IFN-I response is also observed in human primary macrophages, which modulate CD64 and CD40 upon challenge with IFN-I-inducing LAB. Mechanistically, IFN-I inducers interact more intimately with phagocytes as compared to NF-κB-inducers, and fail to activate IFN-I in the presence of phagocytosis inhibitors. These bacteria are then sensed intracellularly by the cytoplasmic sensors STING and, to a lesser extent, MAVS. Accordingly, macrophages deficient for STING showed dramatically reduced phosphorylation of TANK-binding kinase (TBK)-1 and IFN-I activation, which resulted in lower expression of ISGs. Our findings demonstrate a major role for intracellular sensing and STING in the production of IFN-I by beneficial bacteria and the existence of bacteria-specific immune signatures, which can be exploited to promote cytoprotective responses and prevent overreactive NF-κB-dependent inflammation in the gut.

Maria Bravo, Theo Combes, Fernando O. Martinez Estrada, Rosario Cerrato, Joaquín Rey, Waldo Garcia-Jimenez, Pedro Fernandez-Llario, David Risco, Jorge Gutierrez-Merino (2019)Lactobacilli Isolated From Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) Antagonize Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) in a Species-Dependent Manner, In: Frontiers in Microbiology10 Frontiers Media

Background: Wildlife poses a significant burden for the complete eradication of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). In particular, wild boar (Sus scrofa) is one of the most important reservoirs of Mycobacterium bovis, the causal agent of bTB. Wild boar can display from mild TB lesions, usually found in head lymph nodes, to generalized TB lesions distributed in different anatomical regions; but rarely clinical signs, which complicates the diagnosis of Mycobacterium bovis infection and bTB control. Among the possibilities for this variability in lesion distribution is the influence of the host-beneficial commensal-primed immune barrier. In this respect, beneficial microbes may delay bTB dissemination as a consequence of an antagonistic competition for nutrients and phagocytes. In order to explore this possibility, we have tested whether typical commensals such as lactobacilli have the capacity to reduce the survival rate of the surrogate M. bovis strain Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG); and to modulate its phagocyte intake. Results: Three Lactobacillus species, L. casei, L. plantarum, and L. salivarius, isolated from wild boar feces displayed a pH-dependent inhibitory activity against BCG and influenced its intake by porcine blood phagocytes in a species-dependent manner. All lactobacilli showed a very significant bactericidal effect against BCG at low pH, but only isolates of L. plantarum and L. casei displayed such antimycobacterial activity at neutral pH. The genomes of these isolates revealed the presence of two-peptide bacteriocins whose precursor genes up-regulate in the presence of BCG cells. Furthermore, L. plantarum reduced significantly the BCG phagocytic intake, whereas L. casei had the opposite effect. L. salivarius had no significant influence on the phagocytic response to BCG. Conclusions: Our in vitro results show that lactobacilli isolated from wild boar antagonize BCG as a consequence of their antimycobacterial activity and a competitive phagocytic response. These findings suggest that commensal bacteria could play a beneficial role in influencing the outcome of bTB dissemination. Further work with lactobacilli as a potential competitive pressure to control bTB will need to take into account the complex nature of the commensal microbiome, the specific immunity of the wild boar and the in vivo infection context with pathogenic strains of M. bovis.

Gaetano D'Amato, Guillermo Luxán, Gonzalo del Monte-Nieto, Beatriz Martínez-Poveda, Carlos Torroja, Wencke Walter, Matthew S Bochter, Rui Benedito, Susan Cole, Fernando Martinez, Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, Akiyoshi Uemura, Luis J Jiménez-Borreguero, José Luis de la Pompa, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2016)Sequential Notch activation regulates ventricular chamber development, In: Nature cell biology18(1)pp. 7-20

Ventricular chambers are essential for the rhythmic contraction and relaxation occurring in every heartbeat throughout life. Congenital abnormalities in ventricular chamber formation cause severe human heart defects. How the early trabecular meshwork of myocardial fibres forms and subsequently develops into mature chambers is poorly understood. We show that Notch signalling first connects chamber endocardium and myocardium to sustain trabeculation, and later coordinates ventricular patterning and compaction with coronary vessel development to generate the mature chamber, through a temporal sequence of ligand signalling determined by the glycosyltransferase manic fringe (MFng). Early endocardial expression of MFng promotes Dll4-Notch1 signalling, which induces trabeculation in the developing ventricle. Ventricular maturation and compaction require MFng and Dll4 downregulation in the endocardium, which allows myocardial Jag1 and Jag2 signalling to Notch1 in this tissue. Perturbation of this signalling equilibrium severely disrupts heart chamber formation. Our results open a new research avenue into the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathies.

Isabel Hidalgo, Antonio Herrera-Merchan, Jose Manuel Ligos, Laura Carramolino, Javier Nunez, Fernando Martinez, Orlando Dominguez, Miguel Torres, Susana Gonzalez (2012)Ezh1 Is Required for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Maintenance and Prevents Senescence-like Cell Cycle Arrest, In: Cell stem cell11(5)pp. 649-662 Elsevier

Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are key epigenetic regulators of hematopietic stem cell (HSC) fate. The PcG members Ezh2 and Ezh2 are important determinants of embryonic stem cell identity, and the transcript levels of these histone methyltransferases are inversely correlated during development. However, the role of Ezh1 in somatic stem cells is largely unknown. Here we show that Ezh1 maintains repopulating HSCs in a slow-cycling, undifferentiated state, protecting them from senescence. Ezh1 ablation induces significant loss of adult HSCs, with concomitant impairment of their self-renewal capacity due to a potent senescence response. Epigenomic and gene expression changes induced by Ezh1 deletion in senesced HSCs demonstrated that Ezh1-mediated PRC2 activity catalyzes monomethylation and dimethylation of H3K27. Deletion of Cdkn2a on the Ezh1 null background rescued HSC proliferation and survival. Our results suggest that Ezh1 is an important histone methyltransferase for HSC maintenance.

Suzanne L. Cole, Jake Dunning, Wai Ling Kok, Kambez Hajipouran Benam, Adel Benlahrech, Emmanouela Repapi, Fernando O. Martinez, Lydia Drumright, Timothy J. Powell, Michael Bennett, Ruth Elderfield, Catherine Thomas, Tao Dong, John McCauley, Foo Y. Liew, Stephen Taylor, Maria Zambon, Wendy Barclay, Vincenzo Cerundolo, Peter J. Openshaw, Andrew J. McMichael, Ling-Pei Ho, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2017)M1-like monocytes are a major immunological determinant of severity in previously healthy adults with life-threatening influenza, In: JCI insight2(7)pp. e91868-e91868 American Society for Clinical Investigation

In each influenza season, a distinct group of young, otherwise healthy individuals with no risk factors succumbs to life-threatening infection. To better understand the cause for this, we analyzed a broad range of immune responses in blood from a unique cohort of patients, comprising previously healthy individuals hospitalized with and without respiratory failure during one influenza season, and infected with one specific influenza A strain. This analysis was compared with similarly hospitalized influenza patients with known risk factors (total of n = 60 patients recruited). We found a sustained increase in a specific subset of proinflammatory monocytes, with high TNF-α expression and an M1-like phenotype (independent of viral titers), in these previously healthy patients with severe disease. The relationship between M1-like monocytes and immunopathology was strengthened using murine models of influenza, in which severe infection generated using different models (including the high-pathogenicity H5N1 strain) was also accompanied by high levels of circulating M1-like monocytes. Additionally, a raised M1/M2 macrophage ratio in the lungs was observed. These studies identify a specific subtype of monocytes as a modifiable immunological determinant of disease severity in this subgroup of severely ill, previously healthy patients, offering potential novel therapeutic avenues. In a cohort of influenza patients, previously healthy and young patients who succumbed to life-threatening disease were defined by high levels of circulating M1-like, TNF-α hi monocytes.

Jose Luis Toran, Juan Antonio Lopez, Patricia Gomes-Alves, Susana Aguilar, Carlos Torroja, Marco Trevisan-Herraz, Isabel Moscoso, Maria Joao Sebastiao, Margarida Serra, Catarina Brito, Francisco Miguel Cruz, Juan Carlos Sepulveda, Jose Luis Abad, Carlos Galan-Arriola, Borja Ibanez, Fernando Martinez, Maria Eugen Fernandez, Francisco Fernandez-Aviles, Itziar Palacios, Luis R-Borlado, Jesus Vazquez, Paula M. Alves, Antonio Bernad (2019)Definition of a cell surface signature for human cardiac progenitor cells after comprehensive comparative transcriptomic and proteomic characterization, In: Scientific reports9(Mar (E-published))pp. 4647-4647 Springer Nature

Adult cardiac progenitor/stem cells (CPC/CSC) are multipotent resident populations involved in cardiac homeostasis and heart repair. Assisted by complementary RNAseq analysis, we defined the fraction of the CPC proteome associable with specific functions by comparison with human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), the reference population for cell therapy, and human dermal fibroblasts (HDF), as a distant reference. Label-free proteomic analysis identified 526 proteins expressed differentially in CPC. iTRAQ analysis confirmed differential expression of a substantial proportion of those proteins in CPC relative to MSC, and systems biology analysis defined a clear overrepresentation of several categories related to enhanced angiogenic potential. The CPC plasma membrane compartment comprised 1,595 proteins, including a minimal signature of 167 proteins preferentially or exclusively expressed by CPC. CDH5 (VE-cadherin), OX2G (OX-2 membrane glycoprotein; CD200), GPR4 (G protein-coupled receptor 4), CACNG7 (calcium voltage-gated channel auxiliary subunit gamma 7) and F11R (F11 receptor; junctional adhesion molecule A; JAM-A; CD321) were selected for validation. Their differential expression was confirmed both in expanded CPC batches and in early stages of isolation, particularly when compared against cardiac fibroblasts. Among them, GPR4 demonstrated the highest discrimination capacity between all cell lineages analyzed.

Jesús Gómez-Escudero, Vanessa Moreno, Mara Martín-Alonso, M Victoria Hernández-Riquer, Tamar Feinberg, Ángel Colmenar, Enrique Calvo, Emilio Camafeita, Fernando Martínez, Menno J Oudhoff, Stephen J Weiss, Alicia G Arroyo, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2017)E-cadherin cleavage by MT2-MMP regulates apical junctional signaling and epithelial homeostasis in the intestine, In: Journal of cell science130(23)pp. 4013-4027

Cadherin-based intercellular adhesions are essential players in epithelial homeostasis, but their dynamic regulation during tissue morphogenesis and remodeling remain largely undefined. Here, we characterize an unexpected role for the membrane-anchored metalloproteinase MT2-MMP in regulating epithelial cell quiescence. Following co-immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry, the MT2-MMP cytosolic tail was found to interact with the zonula occludens protein-1 (ZO-1) at the apical junctions of polarized epithelial cells. Functionally, MT2-MMP localizes in the apical domain of epithelial cells where it cleaves E-cadherin and promotes epithelial cell accumulation, a phenotype observed in 2D polarized cells as well as 3D cysts. MT2-MMP-mediated cleavage subsequently disrupts apical E-cadherin-mediated cell quiescence resulting in relaxed apical cortical tension favoring cell extrusion and re-sorting of Src kinase activity to junctional complexes, thereby promoting proliferation. Physiologically, MT2-MMP loss of function alters E-cadherin distribution, leading to impaired 3D organoid formation by mouse colonic epithelial cells and reduction of cell proliferation within intestinal crypts Taken together, these studies identify an MT2-MMP-E-cadherin axis that functions as a novel regulator of epithelial cell homeostasis .

Mara Martín-Alonso, Ana B García-Redondo, Dongchuan Guo, Emilio Camafeita, Fernando Martínez, Arántzazu Alfranca, Nerea Méndez-Barbero, Ángela Pollán, Cristina Sánchez-Camacho, David T Denhardt, Motoharu Seiki, Jesús Vázquez, Mercedes Salaices, Juan Miguel Redondo, Dianna Milewicz, Alicia G Arroyo, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2015)Deficiency of MMP17/MT4-MMP proteolytic activity predisposes to aortic aneurysm in mice, In: Circulation research117(2)pp. e13-e26

Aortic dissection or rupture resulting from aneurysm causes 1% to 2% of deaths in developed countries. These disorders are associated with mutations in genes that affect vascular smooth muscle cell differentiation and contractility or extracellular matrix composition and assembly. However, as many as 75% of patients with a family history of aortic aneurysms do not have an identified genetic syndrome. To determine the role of the protease MMP17/MT4-MMP in the arterial wall and its possible relevance in human aortic pathology. Screening of patients with inherited thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections identified a missense mutation (R373H) in the MMP17 gene that prevented the expression of the protease in human transfected cells. Using a loss-of-function genetic mouse model, we demonstrated that the lack of Mmp17 resulted in the presence of dysfunctional vascular smooth muscle cells and altered extracellular matrix in the vessel wall; and it led to increased susceptibility to angiotensin-II-induced thoracic aortic aneurysm. We also showed that Mmp17-mediated osteopontin cleavage regulated vascular smooth muscle cell maturation via c-Jun N-terminal kinase signaling during aorta wall development. Some features of the arterial phenotype were prevented by re-expression of catalytically active Mmp17 or the N-terminal osteopontin fragment in Mmp17-null neonates. Mmp17 proteolytic activity regulates vascular smooth muscle cell phenotype in the arterial vessel wall, and its absence predisposes to thoracic aortic aneurysm in mice. The rescue of part of the vessel-wall phenotype by a lentiviral strategy opens avenues for therapeutic intervention in these life-threatening disorders.

Cristina Clemente, Cristina Rius, Laura Alonso-Herranz, Mara Martin-Alonso, Angela Pollan, Emilio Camafeita, Fernando Martinez, Ruben A. Mota, Vanessa Nunez, Cristina Rodriguez, Motoharu Seiki, Jose Martinez-Gonzalez, Vicente Andres, Mercedes Ricote, Alicia G. Arroyo (2018)MT4-MMP deficiency increases patrolling monocyte recruitment to early lesions and accelerates atherosclerosis, In: Nature communications9(1)pp. 910-16 Springer Nature

Matrix metalloproteinases are involved in vascular remodeling. Little is known about their immune regulatory role in atherosclerosis. Here we show that mice deficient for MT4-MMP have increased adherence of macrophages to inflamed peritonea, and larger lipid deposits and macrophage burden in atherosclerotic plaques. We also demonstrate that MT4-MMP deficiency results in higher numbers of patrolling monocytes crawling and adhered to inflamed endothelia, and the accumulation of Mafb+ apoptosis inhibitor of macrophage (AIM)+ macrophages at incipient atherosclerotic lesions in mice. Functionally, MT4-MMP-null Mafb+ AIM+ peritoneal macrophages express higher AIM and scavenger receptor CD36, are more resistant to apoptosis, and bind acLDL avidly, all of which contribute to atherosclerosis. CCR5 inhibition alleviates these effects by hindering the enhanced recruitment of MT4-MMP-null patrolling monocytes to early atherosclerotic lesions, thus blocking Mafb+ AIM+ macrophage accumulation and atherosclerosis acceleration. Our results suggest that MT4-MMP targeting may constitute a novel strategy to boost patrolling monocyte activity in early inflammation.

Guillermo Luxan, Jesus C. Casanova, Beatriz Martinez-Poveda, Belen Prados, Gaetano D'Amato, Donal MacGrogan, Alvaro Gonzalez-Rajal, David Dobarro, Carlos Torroja, Fernando Martinez, Jose Luis Izquierdo-Garcia, Leticia Fernandez-Friera, Maria Sabater-Molina, Young-Y Kong, Gonzalo Pizarro, Borja Ibanez, Constancio Medrano, Pablo Garcia-Pavia, Juan R. Gimeno, Lorenzo Monserrat, Luis J. Jimenez-Borreguero, Jose Luis de la Pompa (2013)Mutations in the NOTCH pathway regulator MIB1 cause left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy, In: Nature medicine19(2)pp. 193-201 Springer Nature

Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) causes prominent ventricular trabeculations and reduces cardiac systolic function. The clinical presentation of LVNC ranges from asymptomatic to heart failure. We show that germline mutations in human MIB1 (mindbomb homolog 1), which encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase that promotes endocytosis of the NOTCH ligands DELTA and JAGGED, cause LVNC in autosomal-dominant pedigrees, with affected individuals showing reduced NOTCH I activity and reduced expression of target genes. Functional studies in cells and zebrafish embryos and in silico modeling indicate that MIB1 functions as a dimer, which is disrupted by the human mutations. Targeted inactivation of Mib1 in mouse myocardium causes LVNC, a phenotype mimicked by inactivation of myocardial Jagged1 or endocardial Notch 1. Myocardial Mib1 mutants show reduced ventricular Notch1 activity, expansion of compact myocardium to proliferative, immature trabeculae and abnormal expression of cardiac development and disease genes. These results implicate NOTCH signaling in LVNC and indicate that MIB1 mutations arrest chamber myocardium development, preventing trabecular maturation and compaction.

Asier Echarri, Olivia Muriel, Dacil M. Pavon, Hind Azegrouz, Fernando Escolar, Maria C. Terron, Fatima Sanchez-Cabo, Fernando Martinez, Maria C. Montoya, Oscar Llorca, Miguel A. del Pozo, Fernando Oneissi Martinez Estrada (2012)Caveolar domain organization and trafficking is regulated by Abl kinases and mDia1 (vol 125, pg 3097, 2012), In: Journal of cell science125(18)pp. 4413-4413 COMPANY OF BIOLOGISTS LTD
SG Dakin, J. R. Newton, Fernando O Martinez, Robert Hedley, Stephen Gwilym, Natasha Jones, Hamish A B Reid, SA Wood, GA Wells, Louise Appleton, K Wheway, Bridget Watkins, A Carr (2018)Chronic inflammation is a feature of Achilles tendinopathy and rupture, In: British journal of sports medicine52(6)pp. 359-367

BackgroundRecent investigation of human tissue and cells from positional tendons such as the rotator cuff has clarified the importance of inflammation in the development and progression of tendon disease. These mechanisms remain poorly understood in disease of energy-storing tendons such as the Achilles. Using tissue biopsies from patients, we investigated if inflammation is a feature of Achilles tendinopathy and rupture.MethodsWe studied Achilles tendon biopsies from symptomatic patients with either mid-portion tendinopathy or rupture for evidence of abnormal inflammatory signatures. Tendon-derived stromal cells from healthy hamstring and diseased Achilles were cultured to determine the effects of cytokine treatment on expression of inflammatory markers.ResultsTendinopathic and ruptured Achilles highly expressed CD14+ and CD68+ cells and showed a complex inflammation signature, involving NF-κB, interferon and STAT-6 activation pathways. Interferon markers IRF1 and IRF5 were highly expressed in tendinopathic samples. Achilles ruptures showed increased PTGS2 and interleukin-8 expression. Tendinopathic and ruptured Achilles tissues expressed stromal fibroblast activation markers podoplanin and CD106. Tendon cells isolated from diseased Achilles showed increased expression of pro-inflammatory and stromal fibroblast activation markers after cytokine stimulation compared with healthy hamstring tendon cells.ConclusionsTissue and cells derived from tendinopathic and ruptured Achilles tendons show evidence of chronic (non-resolving) inflammation. The energy-storing Achilles shares common cellular and molecular inflammatory mechanisms with functionally distinct rotator cuff positional tendons. Differences seen in the profile of ruptured Achilles are likely to be attributable to a superimposed phase of acute inflammation and neo-vascularisation. Strategies that target chronic inflammation are of potential therapeutic benefit for patients with Achilles tendon disease.

Leonie Beljaars, Marlies Schippers, Catharina Reker-Smit, Fernando O Martinez, Laura Helming, Klaas Poelstra, BN Melgert (2014)Hepatic Localization of Macrophage Phenotypes during Fibrogenesis and Resolution of Fibrosis in Mice and Humans, In: Frontiers in immunology5pp. 430-430 Frontiers Media S.A

Macrophages have been found to both promote liver fibrosis and contribute to its resolution by acquiring different phenotypes based on signals from the micro-environment. The best-characterized phenotypes in the macrophage spectrum are labeled M1 (classically activated) and M2 (alternatively activated). Until now the in situ localization of these phenotypes in diseased livers is poorly described. In this study, we therefore aimed to localize and quantify M1- and M2-dominant macrophages in diseased mouse and human livers. The scarred collagen-rich areas in cirrhotic human livers and in CCl4-damaged mouse livers contained many macrophages. Though total numbers of macrophages were higher in fibrotic livers, the number of parenchymal CD68-positive macrophages was significantly lower as compared to normal. Scar-associated macrophages were further characterized as either M1-dominant (IRF-5 and interleukin-12) or M2-dominant (CD206, transglutaminase-2, and YM-1) and significantly higher numbers of both of these were detected in diseased livers as compared to healthy human and mouse livers. Interestingly, in mouse, livers undergoing resolution of fibrosis, the total number of CD68 + macrophages was significantly lower compared to their fibrotic counterparts. M2-dominant (YM-1) macrophages were almost completely gone in livers undergoing resolution, while numbers of M1-dominant (IRF-5) macrophages were almost unchanged and the proteolytic activity (MMP9) increased. In conclusion, this study shows the distribution of macrophage subsets in livers of both human and murine origin. The presence of M1- and M2-dominant macrophages side by side in fibrotic lesions suggests that both are involved in fibrotic responses, while the persistence of M1-dominant macrophages during resolution may indicate their importance in regression of fibrosis. This study emphasizes that immunohistochemical detection of M1/M2-dominant macrophages provides valuable information in addition to widely used flow cytometry and gene analysis.

MDB van de Garde, Fernando O Martinez, BN Melgert, MN Hylkema, René E. Jonkers, Jörg Hamann (2014)Chronic exposure to glucocorticoids shapes gene expression and modulates innate and adaptive activation pathways in macrophages with distinct changes in leukocyte attraction, In: Journal of Immunology192(3)pp. 1196-1208 American Association of Immunologists

Glucocorticoids (GCs) have been used for more than 50 y as immunosuppressive drugs, yet their efficacy in macrophage-dominated disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is debated. Little is known how long-term GC treatment affects macrophage responses in inflammatory conditions. In this study, we compared the transcriptome of human macrophages, matured in the presence or absence of fluticasone propionate (FP), and their ability to initiate or sustain classical activation, mimicked using acute LPS and chronic IFN-γ stimulation, respectively. We identified macrophage gene expression networks, modulated by FP long-term exposure, and specific patterns of IFN-γ– and LPS-induced genes that were resistant, inhibited, or exacerbated by FP. Results suggest that long-term treatment with GCs weakens adaptive immune signature components of IFN-γ and LPS gene profiles by downmodulating MHC class II and costimulatory molecules, but strengthens innate signature components by maintaining and increasing expression of chemokines involved in phagocyte attraction. In a mouse model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, GC treatment induced higher chemokine levels, and this correlated with enhanced recruitment of leukocytes. Thus, GCs do not generally suppress macrophage effector functions, but they cause a shift in the innate–adaptive balance of the immune response, with distinct changes in the chemokine–chemokine receptor network

STEPHANIE G. DAKIN, Fernando O Martinez, CLARENCE YAPP, GRAHAM WELLS, UDO OPPERMANN, BENJAMIN J.F. DEAN, RICHARD D. J. SMITH, KIM WHEWAY, Bridget Watkins, LUCY ROCHE, ANDREW J. CARR (2015)Inflammation activation and resolution in human tendon disease, In: Science translational medicine7(311)
Ronny Milde, Julia Ritter, Glenys A Tennent, A Loesch, Fernando O Martinez, S Gordon, Mark B Pepys, Admar Verschoor, Laura Helming (2015)Multinucleated Giant Cells Are Specialized for Complement-Mediated Phagocytosis and Large Target Destruction, In: Cell reports (Cambridge)13(9)pp. 1937-1948

Multinucleated giant cells (MGCs) form by fusion of macrophages and are presumed to contribute to the removal of debris from tissues. In a systematic in vitro analysis, we show that IL-4-induced MGCs phagocytosed large and complement-opsonized materials more effectively than their unfused M2 macrophage precursors. MGC expression of complement receptor 4 (CR4) was increased, but it functioned primarily as an adhesion integrin. In contrast, although expression of CR3 was not increased, it became functionally activated during fusion and was located on the extensive membrane ruffles created by excess plasma membrane arising from macrophage fusion. The combination of increased membrane area and activated CR3 specifically equips MGCs to engulf large complement-coated targets. Moreover, we demonstrate these features in vivo in the recently described complement-dependent therapeutic elimination of systemic amyloid deposits by MGCs. MGCs are evidently more than the sum of their macrophage parts.

Fernando O Martinez, S Gordon, M. Locati, A Mantovani (2006)Transcriptional profiling of the human monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation and polarization: new molecules and patterns of gene expression, In: The Journal of immunology (1950)177(10)pp. 7303-7311

Comprehensive analysis of the gene expression profiles associated with human monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation and polarization toward M1 or M2 phenotypes led to the following main results: 1) M-CSF-driven monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation is associated with activation of cell cycle genes, substantiating the underestimated proliferation potential of monocytes. 2) M-CSF leads to expression of a substantial part of the M2 transcriptome, suggesting that under homeostatic conditions a default shift toward M2 occurs. 3) Modulation of genes involved in metabolic activities is a prominent feature of macrophage differentiation and polarization. 4) Lipid metabolism is a main category of modulated transcripts, with expected up-regulation of cyclo-oxygenase 2 in M1 cells and unexpected cyclo-oxygenase 1 up-regulation in M2 cells. 5) Each step is characterized by a different repertoire of G protein-coupled receptors, with five nucleotide receptors as novel M2-associated genes. 6) The chemokinome of polarized macrophages is profoundly diverse and new differentially expressed chemokines are reported. Thus, transcriptome profiling reveals novel molecules and signatures associated with human monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation and polarized activation which may represent candidate targets in pathophysiology.

A Mantovani, R. Bonecchi, Fernando O Martinez, Emanuela Galliera, P Perrier, P Allavena, M. Locati (2003)Tuning of innate immunity and polarized responses by decoy receptors, In: International archives of allergy and immunology132(2)pp. 109-115

After the identification of the interleukin (IL)-1 type II receptor as the prototype, decoy receptors have been identified for a number of members of the IL-1/IL-18, TNF, IL-10 and IL-13 receptor families. Moreover, the silent receptor D6 is a promiscuous decoy and scavenger receptor of inflammatory chemokines. The IL-1 decoy receptor is regulated by pro- and anti-inflammatory signals and its levels may serve as a readout of the activation of anti-inflammatory pathways, for instance by glucocorticoid hormones. Decoy receptors represent a strategy to tune inflammatory and polarized adaptive responses.

Linsey Elisabeth Susan de Groot, T Anienke van der Veen, Fernando O Martinez, J Hamann, R. Lutter, BN Melgert (2019)Oxidative stress and macrophages: driving forces behind exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?, In: American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology316(2)pp. L369-L384

Oxidative stress is a common feature of obstructive airway diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lung macrophages are key innate immune cells that can generate oxidants and are known to display aberrant polarization patterns and defective phagocytic responses in these diseases. Whether these characteristics are linked in one way or another and whether they contribute to the onset and severity of exacerbations in asthma and COPD remains poorly understood. Insight into oxidative stress, macrophages and their interactions may be important in fully understanding acute worsening of lung disease. This review therefore highlights the current state of the art regarding the role of oxidative stress and macrophages in exacerbations of asthma and COPD. It shows that oxidative stress can attenuate macrophage function, which may result in impaired responses towards exacerbating triggers and may contribute to exaggerated inflammation in the airways.

SG Dakin, CD Buckley, Mohammad Hussein Al-Mossawi, Robert Hedley, Fernando O Martinez, K Wheway, Bridget Watkins, A Carr (2017)Persistent stromal fibroblast activation is present in chronic tendinopathy, In: Arthritis research & therapy19(1)pp. 16-16 BioMed Central
CJ Scotton, Fernando O Martinez, Maaike J Smelt, Marina Sironi, M. Locati, A Mantovani, S. Sozzani (2005)Transcriptional profiling reveals complex regulation of the monocyte IL-1 beta system by IL-13, In: The Journal of immunology (1950)174(2)pp. 834-845

IL-4 and IL-13 are prototypic Th2 cytokines that generate an "alternatively activated" phenotype in macrophages. We used high-density oligonucleotide microarrays to investigate the transcriptional profile induced in human monocytes by IL-13. After 8-h stimulation with IL-13, 142 genes were regulated (85 increased and 57 decreased). The majority of these genes were related to the inflammatory response and innate immunity; a group of genes related to lipid metabolism was also identified, with clear implications for atherosclerosis. In addition to characteristic markers of alternatively activated macrophages, a number of novel IL-13-regulated genes were seen. These included various pattern recognition receptors, such as CD1b/c/e, TLR1, and C-type lectin superfamily member 6. Several components of the IL-1 system were regulated. IL-1RI, IL-1RII, and IL-1Ra were all up-regulated, whereas the IL-1beta-converting enzyme, caspase 1, and IRAK-M were down-regulated. LPS-inducible caspase 1 enzyme activity was also reduced in IL-13-stimulated monocytes, with a consequent decrease in pro-IL-1beta processing. These data reveal that IL-13 has a potent effect on the transcriptional profile in monocytes. The IL-13-induced modulation of genes related to IL-1 clearly highlights the tightly controlled and complex levels of regulation of the production and response to this potent proinflammatory cytokine.

Alessandra Valerio, M Ferrario, Fernando O Martinez, M. Locati, Valentina Ghisi, Laura Grazia Bresciani, A Mantovani, PierFranco Spano (2004)Gene expression profile activated by the chemokine CCL5/RANTES in human neuronal cells, In: Journal of neuroscience research78(3)pp. 371-382 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
Ariane Hammitzsch, Cynthia Tallant, Oleg Fedorov, Alison O’Mahony, Paul E. Brennan, Duncan A. Hay, Fernando O Martinez, M. Hussein Al-Mossawi, Jelle de Wit, Matteo Vecellio, Christopher Wells, Paul Wordsworth, Susanne Müller, Stefan Knapp, Paul Bowness (2015)CBP30, a selective CBP/p300 bromodomain inhibitor, suppresses human Th17 responses, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Sigrid E M Heinsbroek, P Taylor, Fernando O Martinez, Luisa Martinez-Pomares, Gordon D Brown, S Gordon (2008)Stage-specific sampling by pattern recognition receptors during Candida albicans phagocytosis, In: PLoS pathogens4(11)pp. e1000218-e1000218

Candida albicans is a medically important pathogen, and recognition by innate immune cells is critical for its clearance. Although a number of pattern recognition receptors have been shown to be involved in recognition and phagocytosis of this fungus, the relative role of these receptors has not been formally examined. In this paper, we have investigated the contribution of the mannose receptor, Dectin-1, and complement receptor 3; and we have demonstrated that Dectin-1 is the main non-opsonic receptor involved in fungal uptake. However, both Dectin-1 and complement receptor 3 were found to accumulate at the site of uptake, while mannose receptor accumulated on C. albicans phagosomes at later stages. These results suggest a potential role for MR in phagosome sampling; and, accordingly, MR deficiency led to a reduction in TNF-alpha and MCP-1 production in response to C. albicans uptake. Our data suggest that pattern recognition receptors sample the fungal phagosome in a sequential fashion.

Fernando O Martinez, Marina Sironi, Annunciata Vecchi, Francesco Colotta, A Mantovani, M. Locati (2004)IL-8 induces a specific transcriptional profile in human neutrophils: synergism with LPS for IL-1 production, In: European journal of immunology34(8)pp. 2286-2292

IL-8 is an inflammatory CXC chemokine involved in neutrophil recruitment and activation in various inflammatory conditions. The transcriptional profile induced by IL-8 in human neutrophils was analyzed using high-density oligonucleotide arrays and compared with that of the prototypic phagocyte activator LPS. As expected, LPS induced a major effect on the cell transcriptome, upregulating 116 (0.93%) and downregulating 70 (0.56%) of the transcripts. IL-8 induced a less profound modulation of the cell transcriptome, with upregulation of 30 (0.25%) and downregulation of 6 (0.04%) of the transcripts. Although the two proinflammatory mediators induced partially overlapping transcriptional profiles (50.0% of IL-8-responsive genes were concordantly regulated by LPS), IL-8 also modulated a significant number of genes unresponsive to LPS, including soluble mediators, membrane receptors, signaling molecules, and regulators of transcription and translation. A set of IL-8-inducible genes was related to cell motility, possibly a strategy to prepare for migration into tissues. Analysis of the IL-8-responsive gene IL-1beta at the protein level revealed that transcript induction was not followed by protein production. Neutrophils stimulated with IL-8, however, showed a significant increase in IL-1beta secretion after subsequent exposure to LPS. Thus, the effect of IL-8 at the transcriptional level could provide a synergistic effect with microbial products for neutrophil activation.

Riccardo Bertini, Marcello Allegretti, Cinzia Bizzarri, Alessio Moriconi, M. Locati, Giuseppe Zampella, Maria N Cervellera, Vito Di Cioccio, Maria C Cesta, Emanuela Galliera, Fernando O Martinez, Rosa Di Bitondo, Giulia Troiani, Vilma Sabbatini, Gaetano D'Anniballe, Roberto Anacardio, Juan C Cutrin, Barbara Cavalieri, Fabrizio Mainiero, Raffaele Strippoli, Pia Villa, M di Girolamo, FC Martin, Marco Gentile, Angela Santoni, Daniela Corda, Giuseppe Poli, A Mantovani, Pietro Ghezzi, Francesco Colotta (2004)Noncompetitive allosteric inhibitors of the inflammatory chemokine receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2: Prevention of reperfusion injury, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - PNAS101(32)pp. 11791-11796 National Academy of Sciences

The chemokine CXC ligand 8 (CXCL8)/IL-8 and related agonists recruit and activate polymorphonuclear cells by binding the CXC chemokine receptor 1 (CXCR1) and CXCR2. Here we characterize the unique mode of action of a small-molecule inhibitor (Repertaxin) of CXCR1 and CXCR2. Structural and biochemical data are consistent with a noncompetitive allosteric mode of interaction between CXCR1 and Repertaxin, which, by locking CXCR1 in an inactive conformation, prevents signaling. Repertaxin is an effective inhibitor of polymorphonuclear cell recruitment in vivo and protects organs against reperfusion injury. Targeting the Repertaxin interaction site of CXCR1 represents a general strategy to modulate the activity of chemoattractant receptors.

Peter J. Murray, Judith E. Allen, S Biswas, Edward A. Fisher, Derek W. Gilroy, S. Goerdt, S Gordon, JONATHAN HAMILTON, L. Ivashkiv, TJ Lawrence, M. Locati, A Mantovani, Fernando O Martinez, J. Mege, D. Mosser, G. Natoli, J. Saeij, J. Schultze, K. Shirey, Antonio Sica, J. Suttles, I. Udalova, J. Vanginderachter, Steven S. Vogel, T. Wynn (2014)Macrophage activation and polarization : nomenclature and experimental guidelines, In: Immunity41(1)pp. 14-20 Cell Press
D. Calebiro, T. De Filippis, S. Lucchi, Fernando O Martinez, P. Porazzi, R. Trivellato, M. Locati, P. Beck-Peccoz, L. Persani (2006)Selective modulation of protein kinase A I and II reveals distinct roles in thyroid cell gene expression and growth, In: Molecular endocrinology Endocrine Society
Victor Velecela, Laura A Lettice, You-Ying Chau, Joan Slight, R Berry, Anna Thornburn, Quinn D Gunst, Maurice van den Hoff, Manuel Reina, Fernando O Martinez, Nicholas D Hastie, Ofelia M Martínez-Estrada (2013)WT1 regulates the expression of inhibitory chemokines during heart development, In: Human molecular genetics22(25)pp. 5083-5095

The embryonic epicardium is an important source of cardiovascular precursor cells and paracrine factors that are required for adequate heart formation. Signaling pathways regulated by WT1 that promote heart development have started to be described; however, there is little information on signaling pathways regulated by WT1 that could act in a negative manner. Transcriptome analysis of Wt1KO epicardial cells reveals an unexpected role for WT1 in repressing the expression of interferon-regulated genes that could be involved in a negative regulation of heart morphogenesis. Here, we showed that WT1 is required to repress the expression of the chemokines Ccl5 and Cxcl10 in epicardial cells. We observed an inverse correlation of Wt1 and the expression of Cxcl10 and Ccl5 during epicardium development. Chemokine receptor analyses of hearts from Wt1(gfp/+) mice demonstrate the differential expression of their chemokine receptors in GFP(+) epicardial enriched cells and GFP(-) cells. Functional assays demonstrate that CXCL10 and CCL5 inhibit epicardial cells migration and the proliferation of cardiomyocytes respectively. WT1 regulates the expression levels of Cxcl10 and Ccl5 in epicardial cells directly and indirectly through increasing the levels of IRF7. As epicardial cell reactivation after a myocardial damage is linked with WT1 expression, the present work has potential implications in adult heart repair.

Fernando O Martinez, S Gordon (2015)The evolution of our understanding of macrophages and translation of findings toward the clinic, In: Expert review of clinical immunology11(1)pp. 5-13 Informa Healthcare

'There is at bottom only one genuinely scientific treatment for all diseases, and that is to stimulate the phagocytes,' so declaimed Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonington in The Doctor's Dilemma, Act 1, by George Bernard Shaw (1906). More often nowadays, the need is to calm the phagocytes, given their role in inflammation and tissue damage. In spite of the growth of cellular and molecular information gained from studies in macrophage cell culture, mouse models and, to a lesser extent, human investigations, and the importance of macrophages in pathogenesis in a wide range of chronic disease processes, there is still a substantial shortfall in terms of clinical applications. In this review, we summarize concepts derived from macrophage studies and suggest possible properties suitable for diagnosis, prognosis and selective targeting of macrophage pathogenic functions.

Fernando O Martinez (2011)Regulators of macrophage activation, In: European Journal of Immunology41(6)pp. 1531-1534 Wiley-VCH Verlag

Macrophages are ubiquitous phagocytes that can constitute up to 15% of the cellular content of tissues. These heterogeneous cells of the innate immune system perform important functions during health and disease. Equipped with receptors for the T helper cell cytokines INF-γ and IL-4, macrophages undergo specific activation programs during Th1 or Th2 immune responses. These activation profiles, termed classical (M1) or alternative (M2) activation respectively, are further tuned by the presence and recognition of microbial-associated molecular patterns, other cytokines, lipids, and even adhesion to the substratum. The activation of macrophages also relies on the maturation background of the cells, elicitation of complicated intracellular signalling cascades, and the crosstalk between the different signalling elements. Of interest, not all genes participating in the activation-related signalling cascades are equally important for the elicitation of functional profiles and a regulator gene hierarchy is emerging for the different types of activation. In this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, two papers add to our understanding of how cellular kinases and phosphatases, related to the PI3K pathway, regulate M1 or M2 activation programmes in macrophages.

Karl R Karlsson, S Cowley, Fernando O Martinez, M Shaw, Stephen L Minger, W James (2008)Homogeneous monocytes and macrophages from human embryonic stem cells following coculture-free differentiation in M-CSF and IL-3, In: Experimental hematology36(9)pp. 1167-1175 Elsevier Inc

To develop a simple and efficient method for producing homogeneous populations of monocytes and macrophages from human embryonic stem cells (hES). Human embryonic stem cell lines KCL001, KCL002, and HUES-2 were differentiated into monocytes by coculture-free differentiation with two growth factors using a three-step method. The method involved embryoid body (EB) formation in hES media, directed differentiation with macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin (IL)-3, and harvest of nonadherent monocytes from the culture supernatants. hES monocytes (esMCs) were analyzed by microscopy, flow cytometry, transcriptome analysis, and tested for the ability to differentiate into macrophages. hES monocyte–derived macrophages (esMDM) were analyzed for phagocytosis and endocytosis by microscopy and flow cytometry, cytokine secretion by multiplex cytokine assay, and for interferon (IFN)-γ and IL-4 activation by flow cytometry. Homogeneous esMCs (>90% CD14-positive) that did not require any additional purification steps were produced after 18.7 ± 7.7 days (mean ± SD, n = 19). Production continued for several months when growth factors were replaced, with a total yield of 3.4 × 105 ± 2.0 esMCs (mean ± SD, n = 9) per EB. Transcriptome analysis of the esMC and the esMDM revealed a distinct myeloid signature that correlated with primary adult blood–derived monocytes and spleen tissue samples but not with other tissue samples tested. We found that esMCs and esMDMs expressed well-defined markers of the mononuclear phagocyte system including PU-1, C/EBPα, EMR1, and EMR2, MPEG1, CD1c, CD4, CD18, CD32, CD33, CD68, cathepsins and serine carboxypeptidase. Finally, esMCs differentiated into functional macrophages that could endocytose acetylated low-density lipoprotein, phagocytose opsonized yeast particles, secrete specific cytokines in response to lipopolysaccharide, and be activated differentially with IFN-γ and IL-4. We have developed a simple and efficient method for producing homogeneous populations of monocytes and macrophages from hES cells. esMCs have a myeloid signature and can differentiate into functional macrophages. The method should prove useful in answering experimental questions regarding monocyte and macrophage development and biology.

Karel Otero, Fernando O Martinez, Amada Beltrán, Deyarina González, Beatriz Herrera, Gypsy Quintero, René Delgado, A Rojas (2001)Albumin-derived advanced glycation end-products trigger the disruption of the vascular endothelial cadherin complex in cultured human and murine endothelial cells, In: Biochemical journal359(3)pp. 567-574
Yuliya Vengrenyuk, Hitoo Nishi, Xiaochun Long, Mireille Ouimet, Nazir Savji, Fernando O Martinez, Courtney P. Cassella, Kathryn J. Moore, Stephen A. Ramsey, Joseph M. Miano, Edward A, Fisher (2015)Cholesterol loading reprograms the microRNA-143/145-Myocardin axis to convert aortic smooth muscle cells to a dysfunctional macrophage-like phenotype, In: Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology35(3)
Fernando O Martinez, Antonio Sica, A Mantovani, M. Locati (2008)Macrophage activation and polarization, In: Frontiers in bioscience13(2)pp. 453-461

Macrophages are widely distributed immune system cells that play an indispensable role in homeostasis and defense. They can be phenotypically polarized by the microenvironment to mount specific functional programs. Polarized macrophages can be broadly classified in two main groups: classically activated macrophages (or M1), whose prototypical activating stimuli are IFNgamma and LPS, and alternatively activated macrophages (or M2), further subdivided in M2a (after exposure to IL-4 or IL-13), M2b (immune complexes in combination with IL-1beta or LPS) and M2c (IL-10, TGFbeta or glucocorticoids). M1 exhibit potent microbicidal properties and promote strong IL-12-mediated Th1 responses, whilst M2 support Th2-associated effector functions. Beyond infection M2 polarized macrophages play a role in resolution of inflammation through high endocytic clearance capacities and trophic factor synthesis, accompanied by reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. Similar functions are also exerted by tumor-associated macrophages (TAM), which also display an alternative-like activation phenotype and play a detrimental pro-tumoral role. Here we review the main functions of polarized macrophages and discuss the perspectives of this field.

M. Locati, Ullrich Deuschle, Maria L Massardi, Fernando O Martinez, Marina Sironi, S. Sozzani, T Bartfai, A Mantovani (2002)Analysis of the gene expression profile activated by the CC chemokine ligand 5/RANTES and by lipopolysaccharide in human monocytes, In: The Journal of immunology (1950)168(7)pp. 3557-3562

The gene expression profile induced by the CC chemokine ligand (CCL) 5/RANTES in human monocytes was examined using the oligonucleotide array technology. Of 5600 transcripts examined, 42 were consistently induced by CCL5, and none were suppressed. Chemokine-inducible transcripts could be clustered in functional groups, including selected cytokines and receptors (e.g., IL-1beta, CCL2/monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and the CCL5 receptor CCR1) and molecules involved in extracellular matrix recognition and digestion (e.g., CD44 splice transcripts, urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor, matrix metalloprotease (MMP)-9, and MMP-19). Transcript expression, confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR analysis for selected genes, was associated with protein induction for some (e.g., CCL2), but not all (e.g., IL-1beta), transcripts examined. The chemokine-induced gene profile was distinct from that activated by LPS, a prototypic phagocyte activator. Although certain transcripts were stimulated by both agonists (e.g., IL-1beta and CCL2), others were induced only by either LPS (e.g., TNF-alpha and IL-6) or CCL5 (e.g., MMP-19) or were divergently regulated (e.g., CCR1). Thus, CCL5, a prototypic CC inflammatory chemokine, activates a restricted transcriptional program in monocytes distinct from that induced by the prototypic pathogen-derived proinflammatory stimulant LPS. Chemokine-induced chemokines production could represent a novel amplification loop of leukocyte recruitment, while a subset of chemokine-inducible transcripts could be involved in monocyte extravasation and tissue invasion.

Siamon Gordon, Annette Plüddemann, Fernando O Martinez (2021)Macrophage heterogeneity in tissues: Phenotypic diversity and functions, In: Immunological Reviews Wiley

During development and throughout adult life, macrophages derived from hematopoietic progenitors are seeded throughout the body, initially in the absence of inflammatory and infectious stimuli as tissue-resident cells, with enhanced recruitment, activation, and local proliferation following injury and pathologic insults. We have learned a great deal about macrophage properties ex vivo and in cell culture, but their phenotypic heterogeneity within different tissue microenvironments remains poorly characterized, although it contributes significantly to maintaining local and systemic homeostasis, pathogenesis, and possible treatment. In this review, we summarize the nature, functions, and interactions of tissue macrophage populations within their microenvironment and suggest questions for further investigation.

Ofelia M Martínez-Estrada, Albert Cullerés, Francesc X Soriano, Hector Peinado, Victoria Bolós, Fernando O Martinez, Manuel Reina, Amparo Cano, Myriam Fabre, Senén Vilaró (2006)The transcription factors Slug and Snail act as repressors of Claudin-1 expression in epithelial cells, In: Biochemical journal394(Pt 2)pp. 449-457

Claudin-1 is an integral membrane protein component of tight junctions. The Snail family of transcription factors are repressors that play a central role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a process that occurs during cancer progression. Snail and Slug members are direct repressors of E-cadherin and act by binding to the specific E-boxes of its proximal promoter. In the present study, we demonstrate that overexpression of Slug or Snail causes a decrease in transepithelial electrical resistance. Overexpression of Slug and Snail in MDCK (Madin-Darby canine kidney) cells down-regulated Claudin-1 at protein and mRNA levels. In addition, Snail and Slug are able to effectively repress human Claudin-1-driven reporter gene constructs containing the wild-type promoter sequence, but not those with mutations in two proximal E-box elements. We also demonstrate by band-shift assay that Snail and Slug bind to the E-box motifs present in the human Claudin-1 promoter. Moreover, an inverse correlation in the levels of Claudin-1 and Slug transcripts were observed in breast cancer cell lines. E-box elements in the Claudin-1 promoter were found to play a critical negative regulatory role in breast cancer cell lines that expressed low levels of Claudin-1 transcript. Significantly, in invasive human breast tumours, high levels of Snail and Slug correlated with low levels of Claudin-1 expression. Taken together, these results support the hypothesis that Claudin-1 is a direct downstream target gene of Snail family factors in epithelial cells.

Michael Z Zulu, Fernando O Martinez, S Gordon, Clive M Gray (2019)The Elusive Role of Placental Macrophages: The Hofbauer Cell, In: Journal of innate immunity11(6)pp. 447-456

In this review, we discuss the often overlooked tissue-resident fetal macrophages, Hofbauer cells, which are found within the chorionic villi of the human placenta. Hofbauer cells have been shown to have a phenotype associated with regulatory and anti-inflammatory functions. They are thought to play a crucial role in the regulation of pregnancy and in the maintenance of a homeostatic environment that is crucial for fetal development. Even though the numbers of these macrophages are some of the most abundant immune cells in the human placenta, which are sustained throughout pregnancy, there are very few studies that have identified their origin, their phenotype, and functions and why they are maintained throughout gestation. It is not yet understood how Hofbauer cells may change in function throughout normal pregnancy, and especially in those complicated by maternal gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and viral infections, such as Zika, cytomegalovirus, and human immunodeficiency virus. We review what is known about the origin of these macrophages and explore how common complications of pregnancy dysregulate these cells leading to adverse birth outcomes in humans. Our synthesis sheds light on areas for human studies that can further define these innate regulatory cells.

Mohlopheni J Marakalala, Fernando O Martinez, Annette Plüddemann, S Gordon (2018)Macrophage Heterogeneity in the Immunopathogenesis of Tuberculosis, In: Frontiers in microbiology9(MAY)pp. 1028-1028 Frontiers Media S.A

Macrophages play a central role in tuberculosis, as the site of primary infection, inducers and effectors of inflammation, innate and adaptive immunity, as well as mediators of tissue destruction and repair. Early descriptions by pathologists have emphasized their morphological heterogeneity in granulomas, followed by delineation of T lymphocyte-dependent activation of anti-mycobacterial resistance. More recently, powerful genetic and molecular tools have become available to describe macrophage cellular properties and their role in host-pathogen interactions. In this review we discuss aspects of macrophage heterogeneity relevant to the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and, conversely, lessons that can be learnt from mycobacterial infection, with regard to the immunobiological functions of macrophages in homeostasis and disease.

S Gordon, Fernando O Martinez (2010)Alternative Activation of Macrophages: Mechanism and Functions, In: Immunity (Cambridge, Mass.)32(5)pp. 593-604 Elsevier Inc

The concept of an alternative pathway of macrophage activation has stimulated interest in its definition, mechanism, and functional significance in homeostasis and disease. We assess recent research in this field, argue for a restricted definition, and explore pathways by which the T helper 2 (Th2) cell cytokines interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13 mediate their effects on macrophage cell biology, their biosynthesis, and responses to a normal and pathological microenvironment. The stage is now set to gain deeper insights into the role of alternatively activated macrophages in immunobiology.

Kaur Alasoo, Fernando O Martinez, Christine Hale, S Gordon, Fiona Powrie, G Dougan, S. Mukhopadhyay, Daniel Gaffney (2015)Transcriptional profiling of macrophages derived from monocytes and iPS cells identifies a conserved response to LPS and novel alternative transcription, In: Scientific reports512524 Springer Nature Limited

Macrophages differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSDMs) are a potentially valuable new tool for linking genotype to phenotype in functional studies. However, at a genome-wide level these cells have remained largely uncharacterised. Here, we compared the transcriptomes of naïve and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) and IPSDMs using RNA-Seq. The IPSDM and MDM transcriptomes were broadly similar and exhibited a highly conserved response to LPS. However, there were also significant differences in the expression of genes associated with antigen presentation and tissue remodelling. Furthermore, genes coding for multiple chemokine involved in neutrophil recruitment were more highly expressed in IPSDMs upon LPS stimulation. Additionally, analysing individual transcript expression identified hundreds of genes undergoing alternative promoter and 3′ untranslated region usage following LPS treatment representing a previously under-appreciated level of regulation in the LPS response.

Marina Sironi, Fernando O Martinez, Daniele D’Ambrosio, Marco Gattorno, Nadia Polentarutti, Massimo Locati, Andrea Gregorio, Andrea Iellem, Marco A. Cassatella, Jo Van Damme, Silvano Sozzani, Alberto Martini, Francesco Sinigaglia, Annunciata Vecchi, Alberto Mantovani (2006)Differential regulation of chemokine production by Fcγ receptor engagement in human monocytes: Association of CCL1 with a distinct form of M2 monocyte activation (M2b, Type 2), In: Journal of leukocyte biology
Laura Helming, Elena Tomasello, Themis R Kyriakides, Fernando O Martinez, T Takai, S Gordon, Eric Vivier (2008)Essential Role of DAP12 Signaling in Macrophage Programming into a Fusion-Competent State, In: Science Signaling1(43)ra11 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Multinucleated giant cells, formed by fusion of macrophages, are a hallmark of granulomatous inflammation. With a genetic approach, we show that signaling through the adaptor protein DAP12 (DNAX activating protein of 12 kD), its associated receptor triggering receptor expressed by myeloid cells 2 (TREM-2), and the downstream protein tyrosine kinase Syk is required for the cytokine-induced formation of giant cells and that overexpression of DAP12 potentiates macrophage fusion. We also present evidence that DAP12 is a general macrophage fusion regulator and is involved in modulating the expression of several macrophage-associated genes, including those encoding known mediators of macrophage fusion, such as DC-STAMP and Cadherin 1 . Thus, DAP12 is involved in programming of macrophages through the regulation of gene and protein expression to induce a fusion-competent state.

Fernando O Martinez, Laura Helming, S Gordon (2009)Alternative activation of macrophages: an immunologic functional perspective, In: Annual Review of Immunology27(1)pp. 451-483 Annual Reviews

Macrophages are innate immune cells with well-established roles in the primary response to pathogens, but also in tissue homeostasis, coordination of the adaptive immune response, inflammation, resolution, and repair. These cells recognize danger signals through receptors capable of inducing specialized activation programs. The classically known macrophage activation is induced by IFN-gamma, which triggers a harsh proinflammatory response that is required to kill intracellular pathogens. Macrophages also undergo alternative activation by IL-4 and IL-13, which trigger a different phenotype that is important for the immune response to parasites. Here we review the cellular sources of these cytokines, receptor signaling pathways, and induced markers and gene signatures. We draw attention to discrepancies found between mouse and human models of alternative activation. The evidence for in vivo alternative activation of macrophages is also analyzed, with nematode infection as prototypic disease. Finally, we revisit the concept of macrophage activation in the context of the immune response.

Viviana Cobos Jiménez, Fernando O Martinez, Thijs Booiman, Karel A van Dort, Maarten A A van de Klundert, S Gordon, Teunis B H Geijtenbeek, Neeltje A Kootstra (2015)G3BP1 restricts HIV-1 replication in macrophages and T-cells by sequestering viral RNA, In: Virology (New York, N.Y.)486pp. 94-104

HIV-1 exploits the cellular machinery for replication and therefore several interactions with cellular factors take place, some of which are yet unknown. We identified GTPase-activating protein-(SH3 domain)-binding protein 1 (G3BP1) as a cellular factor that restricts HIV-1, by analyzing transcriptome profiles of in vitro-cytokine-activated macrophages that are non-permissive to HIV-1 replication. Silencing of G3BP1 by RNA interference resulted in increased HIV-1 replication in primary T-cells and macrophages, but did not affect replication of other retroviruses. G3BP1 specifically interacted with HIV-1 RNA in the cytoplasm, suggesting that it sequesters viral transcripts, thus preventing translation or packaging. G3BP1 was highly expressed in resting naïve or memory T-cells from healthy donors and HIV-1 infected patients, but significantly lower in IL-2-activated T-cells. These results strongly suggest that G3BP1 captures HIV-1 RNA transcripts and thereby restricts mRNA translation, viral protein production and virus particle formation.

Fernando O Martinez, S Gordon (2016)The Cellular and Molecular Network of IL-4 and IL-13, In: Encyclopedia of Immunobiologypp. 519-524 Elsevier Ltd

Interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 control the phenotype of a variety of cells in health and disease. Their receptor system, signaling cascades, and functional properties have gained clarity in the past 30years. In this article, we give an overview of the production, sensing, and effects of both cytokines concluding with a discussion of the therapeutic potential of IL-4 and IL-13 inhibition or supplementation in patients.

Janet E. Digby, Fernando O Martinez, Andrew Jefferson, Neil Ruparelia, Joshua Chai, Malgorzata Wamil, David R. Greaves, Robin P. Choudhury (2012)Anti-inflammatory effects of nicotinic acid in human monocytes are mediated by GPR109A dependent mechanisms, In: Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
P Perrier, Fernando O Martinez, M. Locati, G Bianchi, Manuela Nebuloni, Gianluca Vago, Flavia Bazzoni, S. Sozzani, P Allavena, A Mantovani (2004)Distinct transcriptional programs activated by interleukin-10 with or without lipopolysaccharide in dendritic cells: induction of the B cell-activating chemokine, CXC chemokine ligand 13, In: The Journal of immunology (1950)172(11)pp. 7031-7042

To understand the modulation of dendritic cell (DC) function by IL-10, gene expression profiling was performed by using Affymetrix technology (Santa Clara, CA) in human monocyte-derived DC treated with IL-10, alone or in combination with LPS. The modulation of selected genes was validated by real-time PCR, Northern blot, and protein production. IL-10 regulated in DC the expression of a limited number of genes, including IL-7, the receptors for transferrin and vitamin D(3), structural matrix proteins, and signal transduction elements. The combined treatment with LPS plus IL-10 modulated a number of genes comparable to LPS alone, but the expression profiles were distinct. As expected, IL-10 suppressed the expression of several LPS-inducible proinflammatory molecules. Among genes uniquely modulated by the concomitant treatment with LPS plus IL-10, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase gamma was down-regulated while the suppressor of cytokine signaling 3, signaling lymphocytic activation molecule, regulator of G protein signaling 16, and the chemokine, CXC chemokine ligand (CXCL) 13, were up-regulated. Overall, four distinct transcriptional programs were identified, related to: 1) control of immunity and inflammation; 2) tuning of cytokine receptor and G protein-coupled receptor signaling; 3) remodeling of extracellular matrix; and 4) B cell function and lymphoid tissue neogenesis. Among the latter genes, we further demonstrate that IL-10 synergizes with TLR ligands for the production of functionally active B cell-attracting chemokine, CXCL13, in both myeloid and plasmacytoid DC. This novel finding reveals that IL-10 sustains humoral immunity by inducing the production in APCs of the chemokine, CXCL13, which amplifies B cell recruitment and promotes lymphoid tissue neogenesis.

Fernando O Martinez, Laura Helming, Ronny Milde, Audrey Varin, Barbro N. Melgert,, Christina Draijer, Benjamin Thomas, Marco Fabbri, Anjali Crawshaw, Ling Pei Ho, Nick H. Ten Hacken, Viviana Cobos Jiménez, Neeltje A Kootstra, Jörg Hamann, David R. Greaves, Massimo Locati, Alberto Mantovani, Siamon Gordon (2013)Genetic programs expressed in resting and IL-4 alternatively activated mouse and human macrophages: Similarities and differences, In: Blood : journal of the American Society of Hematology121(9)