While platelets are the cellular mediators of thrombosis, platelets are also immune cells. Platelets interact both directly and indirectly with immune cells, impacting their activation and differentiation, as well as all phases of the immune response. Megakaryocytes (Mks) are the cell source of circulating platelets, and until recently Mks were typically only considered as bone marrow (BM) resident cells. However, platelet producing Mks also reside in the lung, and lung Mks express greater levels of immune molecules compared to BM Mks. We therefore sought to define the immune functions of lung Mks. Using single cell RNA-Seq of BM and lung myeloid enriched cells, we found that lung Mks (MkL) had gene expression patterns that are similar to antigen presenting cells (APC). This was confirmed using imaging and conventional flow cytometry. The immune phenotype of Mks was plastic and driven by the tissue immune environment as evidenced by BM Mks having a MkL like phenotype under the influence of pathogen receptor challenge and lung associated immune molecules, such as IL-33. Our in vitro and in vivo assays demonstrated that MkL internalized and processed both antigenic proteins and bacterial pathogens. Furthermore, MkL induced CD4+ T cell activation in a MHC II dependent manner both in vitro and in vivo. These data indicated that Mks in the lung had key immune regulatory roles dictated in part by the tissue environment.
Daphne N. Pariser, Zachary T. Hilt, Sara K. Ture, Sara K. Blick-Nitko, Mark R. Looney, Simon J. Cleary, Estheany Roman-Pagan, Jerry Saunders II, Steve N. Georas, Janelle M. Veazey, Ferralita Madere, Laura Tesoro Santos, Allison M. Arne, Nguyen PT Huynh, Alison C. Livada, Selena M. Guerrero-Martin, Claire E. Lyons, Kelly A. Metcalf Pate, Kathleen E. McGrath, James Palis, Craig Morrell