The F4/80 antigen, encoded by the Adgre1 locus, has been widely-used as a monocyte-macrophage marker in mice, but its value as a macrophage marker in other species is unclear, and has even been questioned. ADGRE1 is a seven transmembrane G protein-coupled receptor with an extracellular domain containing repeated Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)-like calcium binding domains. Using a new monoclonal antibody, we demonstrated that ADGRE1 is a myeloid differentiation marker in pigs, absent from progenitors in bone marrow, highly-expressed in mature granulocytes, monocytes, and tissue macrophages and induced by macrophage colony-stimulating factor (CSF1) treatment in vivo. Based upon these observations, we utilized RNA-Seq to assess the expression of ADGRE1 mRNA in bone marrow or monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) and alveolar macrophages from 8 mammalian species including pig, human, rat, sheep, goat, cow, water buffalo, and horse. ADGRE1 mRNA was expressed by macrophages in each species, with inter-species variation both in expression level and response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Analysis of the RNA-Seq data also revealed additional exons in several species compared to current Ensembl annotations. The ruminant species and horses appear to encode a complete duplication of the 7 EGF-like domains. In every species, Sashimi plots revealed evidence of exon skipping of the EGF-like domains, which are highly-variable between species and polymorphic in humans. Consistent with these expression patterns, key elements of the promoter and a putative enhancer are also conserved across all species. The rapid evolution of this molecule and related ADGRE family members suggests immune selection and a role in pathogen recognition.
Waddell, L. A., Lefevre, L., Bush, S. J., Raper, A., Young, R., Lisowski, Z. M., … Hume, D. A. (2018). ADGRE1 (EMR1, F4/80) is a rapidly-evolving gene expressed in mammalian monocyte-macrophages. Frontiers in Immunology, 9(OCT). https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02246