Unique proteomic signatures distinguish macrophages and dendritic cells

Lev Becker, Ning Chun Liu, Michelle M. Averill, Wei Yuan, Nathalie Pamir, Yufeng Peng, Angela D. Irwin, Xiaoyun Fu, Karin E. Bornfeldt, Jay W. Heinecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Monocytes differentiate into heterogeneous populations of tissue macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) that regulate inflammation and immunity. Identifying specific populations of myeloid cells in vivo is problematic, however, because only a limited number of proteins have been used to assign cellular phenotype. Using mass spectrometry and bone marrow-derived cells, we provided a global view of the proteomes of M-CSF-derived macrophages, classically and alternatively activated macrophages, and GM-CSF-derived DCs. Remarkably, the expression levels of half the plasma membrane proteins differed significantly in the various populations of cells derived in vitro. Moreover, the membrane proteomes of macrophages and DCs were more distinct than those of classically and alternatively activated macrophages. Hierarchical cluster and dual statistical analyses demonstrated that each cell type exhibited a robust proteomic signature that was unique. To interrogate the phenotype of myeloid cells in vivo, we subjected elicited peritoneal macrophages harvested from wild-type and GM-CSF-deficient mice to mass spectrometric and functional analysis. Unexpectedly, we found that peritoneal macrophages exhibited many features of the DCs generated in vitro. These findings demonstrate that global analysis of the membrane proteome can help define immune cell phenotypes in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere33297
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 12 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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