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Neu1 Is Released From Activated Microglia, Stimulating Microglial Phagocytosis and Sensitizing Neurons to Glutamate.

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Allendorf, David H 
Brown, Guy C 


Neuraminidase 1 (Neu1) hydrolyses terminal sialic acid residues from glycoproteins and glycolipids, and is normally located in lysosomes, but can be released onto the surface of activated myeloid cells and microglia. We report that endotoxin/lipopolysaccharide-activated microglia released Neu1 into culture medium, and knockdown of Neu1 in microglia reduced both Neu1 protein and neuraminidase activity in the culture medium. Release of Neu1 was reduced by inhibitors of lysosomal exocytosis, and accompanied by other lysosomal proteins, including protective protein/cathepsin A, known to keep Neu1 active. Extracellular neuraminidase or over-expression of Neu1 increased microglial phagocytosis, while knockdown of Neu1 decreased phagocytosis. Microglial activation caused desialylation of microglial phagocytic receptors Trem2 and MerTK, and increased binding to Trem2 ligand galectin-3. Culture media from activated microglia contained Neu1, and when incubated with neurons induced their desialylation, and increased the neuronal death induced by low levels of glutamate. Direct desialylation of neurons by adding sialidase or inhibiting sialyltransferases also increased glutamate-induced neuronal death. We conclude that activated microglia can release active Neu1, possibly by lysosomal exocytosis, and this can both increase microglial phagocytosis and sensitize neurons to glutamate, thus potentiating neuronal death.



desialylation, excitotoxicity, microglia, neuraminidase 1, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, neurotoxicity, sialic acid

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Front Cell Neurosci

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Frontiers Media SA
Medical Research Council (MR/L010593/1)