SREBP-1a–stimulated lipid synthesis is required for macrophage phagocytosis downstream of TLR4-directed mTORC1

Jae Ho Lee, Peter Phelan, Minsang Shin, Byung Chul Oh, Xianlin Han, Seung Soon Im, Timothy F. Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


There is a growing appreciation for a fundamental connection between lipid metabolism and the immune response. Macrophage phagocytosis is a signature innate immune response to pathogen exposure, and cytoplasmic membrane expansion is required to engulf the phagocytic target. The sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) are key transcriptional regulatory proteins that sense the intracellular lipid environment and modulate expression of key genes of fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism to maintain lipid homeostasis. In this study, we show that TLR4-dependent stimulation of macrophage phagocytosis requires mTORC1-directed SREBP-1a−dependent lipid synthesis. We also show that the phagocytic defect in macrophages from SREBP-1a−deficient mice results from decreased interaction between membrane lipid rafts and the actin cytoskeleton, presumably due to reduced accumulation of newly synthesized fatty acyl chains within major membrane phospholipids. We show that mTORC1-deficient macrophages also have a phagocytic block downstream from TLR4 signaling, and, interestingly, the reduced level of phagocytosis in both SREBP-1a− and mTORC1-deficient macrophages can be restored by ectopic SREBP-1a expression. Taken together, these observations indicate SREBP-1a is a major downstream effector of TLR4−mTORC1 directed interactions between membrane lipid rafts and the actin cytoskeleton that are required for pathogen-stimulated phagocytosis in macrophages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E12228-E12234
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 26 2018


  • Lipid synthesis
  • MTORC1
  • Macrophages
  • SREBPs
  • TLR4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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