Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de La Plata, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata 1900, Argentina [Email]
Macrophage classical M1 activation via TLR4 triggers a variety of responses to achieve the elimination of foreign pathogens. During this process, there is also an increase in lipid droplets which contain large quantities of triacylglycerol (TAG) and phospholipid (PL). The functional consequences of this increment in lipid mass are poorly understood. Here, we studied the contribution of glycerolipid synthesis to lipid accumulation, focusing specifically on the first and rate-limiting enzyme of the pathway: glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT). Using bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) treated with Kdo2-lipid A, we showed that glycerolipid synthesis is induced during macrophage activation. GPAT4 protein level and GPAT3/GPAT4 enzymatic activity increase during this process, and these two isoforms were required for the accumulation of cell TAG and PL. The phagocytic capacity of Gpat3-/- and Gpat4-/- BMDM was impaired. Additionally, inhibiting fatty acid β-oxidation reduced phagocytosis only partially, suggesting that lipid accumulation is not necessary for the energy requirements for phagocytosis. Finally, Gpat4-/- BMDM expressed and released more pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines after macrophage activation, suggesting a role for GPAT4 in suppressing inflammatory responses. Together, these results provide evidence that glycerolipid synthesis directed by GPAT4 is important for the attenuation of the inflammatory response in activated macrophages.