Scientific article
Open access

The macrophage-expressed gene (mpeg) 1 identifies a subpopulation of B cells in the adult zebrafish

Published inJournal of Leukocyte Biology, vol. 107, no. 3, p. 431-443
Publication date2020

The mononuclear phagocytic system consists of many cells, in particular macrophages, scattered throughout the body. However, there is increasing evidence for the heterogeneity of tissue-resident macrophages, leading to a pressing need for new tools to discriminate mononuclear phagocytic system subsets from other hematopoietic lineages. Macrophage-expressed gene (Mpeg)1.1 is an evolutionary conserved gene encoding perforin-2, a pore-forming protein associated with host defense against pathogens. Zebrafish mpeg1.1:GFP and mpeg1.1:mCherry reporters were originally established to specifically label macrophages. Since then more than 100 peer-reviewed publications have made use of mpeg1.1-driven transgenics for in vivo studies, providing new insights into key aspects of macrophage ontogeny, activation, and function. Whereas the macrophage-specific expression pattern of the mpeg1.1 promoter has been firmly established in the zebrafish embryo, it is currently not known whether this specificity is maintained through adulthood. Here we report direct evidence that beside macrophages, a subpopulation of B-lymphocytes is marked by mpeg1.1 reporters in most adult zebrafish organs. These mpeg1.1+ lymphoid cells endogenously express mpeg1.1 and can be separated from mpeg1.1+ macrophages by virtue of their light-scatter characteristics using FACS. Remarkably, our analyses also revealed that B-lymphocytes, rather than mononuclear phagocytes, constitute the main mpeg1.1-positive population in irf8null myeloid-defective mutants, which were previously reported to recover tissue-resident macrophages in adulthood. One notable exception is skin macrophages, whose development and maintenance appear to be independent from irf8, similar to mammals. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that irf8 functions in myelopoiesis are evolutionary conserved and highlight the need for alternative macrophage-specific markers to study the mononuclear phagocytic system in adult zebrafish.

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes/cytology/metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Interferon Regulatory Factors/metabolism
  • Macrophages/metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins/genetics/metabolism
  • Myeloid Cells/metabolism
  • Phagocytosis
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Skin/cytology/metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transgenes
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics/metabolism
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 31003_166515
Citation (ISO format)
FERRERO, Giuliano et al. The macrophage-expressed gene (mpeg) 1 identifies a subpopulation of B cells in the adult zebrafish. In: Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 2020, vol. 107, n° 3, p. 431–443. doi: 10.1002/JLB.1A1119-223R
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0741-5400

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