||Intracellular metabolite β-glucosylceramide is an endogenous Mincle ligand possessing immunostimulatory activity
Sensing and reacting to tissue damage is a fundamental function of immune systems. Macrophage inducible C-type lectin (Mincle) is an activating C-type lectin receptor that senses damaged cells. Notably, Mincle also recognizes glycolipid ligands on pathogens. To elucidate endogenous glycolipids ligands derived from damaged cells, we fractionated supernatants from damaged cells and identified a lipophilic component that activates reporter cells expressing Mincle. Mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy identified the component structure as β-glucosylceramide (GlcCer), which is a ubiquitous intracellular metabolite. Synthetic β-GlcCer activated myeloid cells and induced production of inflammatory cytokines; this production was abrogated in Mincle-deficient cells. Sterile inflammation induced by excessive cell death in the thymus was exacerbated by hematopoietic-specific deletion of degrading enzyme of β-GlcCer (β-glucosylceramidase, GBA1). However, this enhanced inflammation was ameliorated in a Mincle-deficient background. GBA1-deficient dendritic cells (DCs) in which β-GlcCer accumulates triggered antigen-specific T-cell responses more efficiently than WT DCs, whereas these responses were compromised in DCs from GBA1 × Mincle double-deficient mice. These results suggest that β-GlcCer is an endogenous ligand for Mincle and possesses immunostimulatory activity.