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YAP-mediated mechanotransduction tunes the macrophage inflammatory response.


Macrophages are innate immune cells that adhere to the extracellular matrix within tissues. However, how matrix properties regulate their function remains poorly understood. Here, we report that the adhesive microenvironment tunes the macrophage inflammatory response through the transcriptional coactivator YAP. We find that adhesion to soft hydrogels reduces inflammation when compared to adhesion on stiff materials and is associated with reduced YAP expression and nuclear localization. Substrate stiffness and cytoskeletal polymerization, but not adhesive confinement nor contractility, regulate YAP localization. Furthermore, depletion of YAP inhibits macrophage inflammation, whereas overexpression of active YAP increases inflammation. Last, we show in vivo that soft materials reduce expression of inflammatory markers and YAP in surrounding macrophages when compared to stiff materials. Together, our studies identify YAP as a key molecule for controlling inflammation and sensing stiffness in macrophages and may have broad implications in the regulation of macrophages in health and disease.

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