Adenosine produced from adenine nucleotides through an interaction between apoptotic cells and engulfing macrophages contributes to the appearance of transglutaminase 2 in dying thymocytes

Katalin Sándor, Anna Pallai, Edina Duró, Pascal Legendre, Isabelle Couillin, Tibor Sághy, Z. Szondy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Transglutaminase 2 (TG2) has been known for a long time to be associated with the in vivo apoptosis program of various cell types, including T cells. Though the expression of the enzyme is strongly induced in mouse thymocytes following apoptosis induction in vivo, no significant induction of TG2 can be detected, when thymocytes are induced to die by the same stimuli in vitro indicating that signals arriving from the tissue environment are required for the proper in vivo induction of the enzyme. Previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated that two of these signals, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and retinoids, are produced by macrophages engulfing apoptotic cells. However, in addition to TGF-β and retinoids, engulfing macrophages produce adenosine as well. Here, we show that in vitro adenosine, adenosine, and retinoic acid or adenosine, TGF-β and retinoic acids together can significantly enhance the TG2 mRNA expression in dying thymocytes. The effect of adenosine is mediated via adenosine A2A receptors (A2ARs) and the A2AR-triggered adenylate cyclase signaling pathway. In accordance, loss of A2ARs in A2AR null mice significantly attenuates the in vivo induction of TG2 following apoptosis induction in the thymus indicating that adenosine indeed contributes in vivo to the apoptosis-related appearance of the enzyme. We also demonstrate that adenosine is produced extracellularly during engulfment of apoptotic thymocytes, partly from adenine nucleotides released via thymocyte pannexin-1 channels. Our data reveal a novel crosstalk between macrophages and apoptotic cells, in which apoptotic cell uptake-related adenosine production contributes to the appearance of TG2 in the dying thymocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAmino Acids
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 28 2016



  • Adenosine
  • Apoptosis
  • Macrophages
  • Phagocytosis
  • Transglutaminase 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

Cite this