NETosis proceeds by cytoskeleton and endomembrane disassembly and PAD4-mediated chromatin de-condensation and nuclear envelope rupture
AbstractNeutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are web-like DNA structures decorated with histones and cytotoxic proteins that are released by activated neutrophils to trap and neutralize pathogens during the innate immune response, but also form in and exacerbate sterile inflammation. Peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) citrullinates histones and is required for NET formation (NETosis) in mouse neutrophils. While the in vivo impact of NETs is accumulating, the cellular events driving NETosis
... driving NETosis and the role of PAD4 in these events are unclear. We performed high resolution time-lapse microscopy of mouse and human neutrophils (PMN) and differentiated HL-60 neutrophil-like cells (dHL-60) labelled with fluorescent markers of organelles and stimulated with ionomycin or lipopolysaccharides to induce NETosis. Upon stimulation, cells exhibited rapid disassembly of the actin cytoskeleton, followed by shedding of plasma membrane microvesicles, disassembly and remodeling of the microtubule and vimentin cytoskeletons, ER vesiculation, chromatin de-condensation and nuclear rounding, progressive plasma membrane and nuclear envelope (NE) permeabilization, nuclear lamin meshwork and then NE rupture to release DNA into the cytoplasm, and finally plasma membrane rupture and discharge of extracellular DNA. Inhibition of actin disassembly blocked NET release. Mouse and dHL-60 cells bearing genetic alteration of PAD4 showed that chromatin de-condensation, lamin meshwork and NE rupture and extracellular DNA release required the enzymatic and nuclear localization activities of PAD4. Thus, NETosis proceeds by a step-wise sequence of cellular events culminating in the PAD4-mediated expulsion of DNA.Significance StatementNeutrophils are white blood cells specialized as the first line of host defense in the immune system. One way they protect organisms is through NETosis, in which they expel their DNA to form a web-like trap that ensnares pathogens and promotes clotting. However, NETs also mediate sterile inflammation, causing damage to the body. We used high-resolution live-cell microscopy to perform the first systematic characterization of the timing of dynamic cellular events leading to NETosis in human and mouse neutrophils and a neutrophil-like cell line. We discovered that NETosis proceeds by a step-wise sequence of cellular events that is conserved across species, and requires the activity of the PAD4 enzyme for DNA to be released from the nucleus and cell membrane.