Integrin engagement regulates monocyte differentiation through the forkhead transcription factor Foxp1

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The precise signals responsible for differentiation of blood-borne monocytes into tissue macrophages are incompletely defined. "Outside-in" signaling by integrins has been implicated in modulation of gene expression that affects cellular differentiation. Herein, using differential display PCR, we have cloned an 85-kDa forkhead transcription factor (termed Mac-1-regulated forkhead [MFH] and found subsequently to be identical to Foxp1) that is downregulated in β2-integrin Mac-1-clustered compared with Mac-1-nonclustered monocytic THP-1 cells. MFH/Foxp1 is expressed in untreated HL60 cells, and its expression was markedly reduced during phorbol ester-induced monocyte differentiation, but not retinoic acid-induced granulocyte differentiation. Overexpression of MFH/Foxp1 markedly attenuated phorbol ester-induced expression of c-fms, which encodes the M-CSF receptor and is obligatory for macrophage differentiation. This was accompanied by decreased CD11b expression, cell adhesiveness, and phagocytosis. Using electromobility shift and reporter assays, we have established that MFH/Foxp1 binds to previously uncharacterized sites within the c-fms promoter and functions as a transcriptional repressor. Deficiency of Mac-1 is associated with altered regulation of MFH/Foxp1 and monocyte maturation in vivo. Taken together, these observations suggest that Mac-1 engagement orchestrates monocyte-differentiation signals by regulating the expression of the forkhead transcription repressor MFH/Foxp1. This represents a new pathway for integrin-dependent modulation of gene expression and control of cellular differentiation.

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