Flightless, secreted through a late endosome/lysosome pathway, binds LPS and dampens cytokine secretion

Nazi Lei, Linda Franken, Nadira Ruzehaji, Carolin Offenhäuser, Allison J. Cowin, Rachael Z. Murray

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Flightless (Flii) is upregulated in response to wounding and has been shown to function in wound closure and scarring. In macrophages intracellular Flii negatively modulates Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) signalling and dampens cytokine production. We now show that Flii is constitutively secreted from macrophages and fibroblasts and is present in human plasma. Secretion from fibroblasts is upregulated in response to scratch wounding and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated macrophages also temporally upregulate their secretion of Flii. Using siRNA, and wild-type and mutant proteins, we show that Flii is secreted by means of a late endosomal/lysosomal pathway that is regulated by Rab7 and Stx11. Flii contains 11 leucine-rich repeat domains in its N-terminus that have nearly 50% similarity to those in the extracellular pathogen binding portion of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). We show secreted Flii can also bind LPS and has the ability to alter macrophage activation. LPS activation of macrophages in Flii-depleted conditioned medium leads to enhanced macrophage activation and increased TNF secretion compared with cells activated in the presence of Flii. These results show secreted Flii binds to LPS and in doing so alters macrophage activation and cytokine secretion, suggesting that like the intracellular pool of Flii, secreted Flii also has the ability to alter inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4288-4296
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Cathepsin D
  • Flightless
  • Late endosome
  • Lysosome
  • Rab7
  • Secretion
  • Stx11
  • TNF

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