CD16 promotes Escherichia coli sepsis through an FcR gamma inhibitory pathway that prevents phagocytosis and facilitates inflammation.

Nature Medicine 13(11):1368 (2007) PMID 17934470

Sepsis, a leading cause of death worldwide, involves proinflammatory responses and inefficient bacterial clearance. Phagocytic cells play a crucial part in the prevention of sepsis by clearing bacteria through host innate receptors. Here we show that the FcRgamma adaptor, an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-bearing signal transduction subunit of the Fc receptor family, has a deleterious effect on sepsis. FcRgamma(-/-) mice show increased survival during peritonitis, owing to markedly increased E. coli phagocytosis and killing and to lower production of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. The FcRgamma-associated receptor that inhibits E. coli phagocytosis is FcgammaRIII (also called CD16), and its absence protects mice from sepsis. FcgammaRIII binds E. coli, and this interaction induces FcRgamma phosphorylation, recruitment of the tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1 and phosphatidylinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) dephosphorylation. Decreased PI3K activity inhibits E. coli phagocytosis and increases TNF-alpha production through Toll-like receptor 4. We identified the phagocytic receptor negatively regulated by FcRgamma on macrophages as the class A scavenger receptor MARCO. E. coli-FcgammaRIII interaction induces the recruitment of SHP-1 to MARCO, thereby inhibiting E. coli phagocytosis. Thus, by binding FcgammaRIII, E. coli triggers an inhibitory FcRgamma pathway that both impairs MARCO-mediated bacterial clearance and activates TNF-alpha secretion.