Mammalian DNA is an endogenous danger signal that stimulates local synthesis and release of complement factor B.

David J. Kaczorowski*, Melanie J. Scott, John P. Pibris, Amin Afrazi, Atsunori Nakao, Rebecca D. Edmonds, Sodam Kim, Joon H. Kwak, Yujian Liu, Jie Fan, Timothy R. Billiar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Complement factor B plays a critical role in ischemic tissue injury and autoimmunity. Factor B is dynamically synthesized and released by cells outside of the liver, but the molecules that trigger local factor B synthesis and release during endogenous tissue injury have not been identified. We determined that factor B is upregulated early after cold ischemia-reperfusion in mice, using a heterotopic heart transplant model. These data suggested upregulation of factor B by damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), but multiple common DAMPs did not induce factor B in RAW264.7 mouse macrophages. However, exogenous DNA induced factor B mRNA and protein expression in RAW cells in vitro, as well as in peritoneal and alveolar macrophages in vivo. To determine the cellular mechanisms involved in DNA-induced factor B upregulation we then investigated the role of multiple known DNA receptors or binding partners. We stimulated peritoneal macrophages from wild-type (WT), toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)-deficient, receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE)-/- and myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88)-/- mice, or mouse macrophages deficient in high-mobility group box proteins (HMGBs), DNA-dependent activator of interferon-regulatory factors (DAI) or absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2), with DNA in the presence or absence of lipofection reagent. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting and immunocytochemical analysis were employed for analysis. Synthesis of factor B was independent of TLR9, RAGE, DAI and AIM2, but was dependent on HMGBs, MyD88, p38 and NF-κB. Our data therefore show that mammalian DNA is an endogenous molecule that stimulates factor B synthesis and release from macrophages via HMGBs, MyD88, p38 and NF-κB signaling. This activation of the immune system likely contributes to damage following sterile injury such as hemorrhagic shock and ischemia-reperfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-860
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)
StatePublished - 2012


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