Mouse neutrophilic granulocytes express mRNA encoding the macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor (CSF-1R) as well as many other macrophage-specific transcripts and can transdifferentiate into macrophages in vitro in response to CSF-1

R. Tedjo Sasmono, Achim Ehrnsperger, Stephen L. Cronau, Timothy Ravasi, Rangi Kandane, Michael J. Hickey, Andrew D. Cook, S. Roy Himes, John A. Hamilton, David A. Hume*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


The differentiation of macrophages from their progenitors is controlled by macrophage colony-stimulating factor (CSF-1), which binds to a receptor (CSF-1R) encoded by the c-fms proto-oncogene. We have previously used the promoter region of the CSF-1R gene to direct expression of an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter gene to resident macrophage populations in transgenic mice. In this paper, we show that the EGFP reporter is also expressed in all granulocytes detected with the Gr-1 antibody, which binds to Ly-6C and Ly-6G or with a Ly-6G-specific antibody. Transgene expression reflects the presence of CSF-1R mRNA but not CSF-1R protein. The same pattern is observed with the macrophage-specific F4/80 marker. Based on these findings, we performed a comparative array profiling of highly purified granulocytes and macrophages. The patterns of mRNA expression differed predominantly through granulocyte-specific expression of a small subset of transcription factors (Egr1, HoxB7, STAT3), known abundant granulocyte proteins (e.g., S100A8, S100A9, neutrophil elastase), and specific receptors (fMLP, G-CSF). These findings suggested that appropriate stimuli might mediate rapid interconversion of the major myeloid cell types, for example, in inflammation. In keeping with this hypothesis, we showed that purified Ly-6G-positive granulocytes express CSF-1R after overnight culture and can subsequently differentiate to form F4/80-positive macrophages in response to CSF-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • EGFP
  • Knockout
  • Myeloid
  • Transcription
  • Transgenic
  • White blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology

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