• macrophage;
  • phagocytosis;
  • phosphatidylserine;
  • apoptosis;
  • RAGE

Clearance of apoptotic cells is necessary for tissue development, homeostasis and resolution of inflammation. The uptake of apoptotic cells is initiated by an ‘eat-me’ signal, such as phosphatidylserine, on the cell surface and phagocytes recognize the signal by using specific receptors. In this study, we show that the soluble form of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) binds to phosphatidylserine as well as to the apoptotic thymocytes. RAGE-deficient (Rage−/−) alveolar macrophages showed impaired phagocytosis of apoptotic thymocytes and defective clearance of apoptotic neutrophils in Rage−/− mice. Our results indicate that RAGE functions as a phosphatidylserine receptor and assists in the clearance of apoptotic cells.