Theranostics 2021; 11(10):4894-4909. doi:10.7150/thno.56383 This issue

Research Paper

Requirement of Gαi1 and Gαi3 in interleukin-4-induced signaling, macrophage M2 polarization and allergic asthma response

Jin-yu Bai1,2#, Ya Li3#, Guan-hua Xue4#, Ke-ran Li5#, Yu-Fan Zheng2, Zhi-qing Zhang2, Qin Jiang5✉, Yuan-yuan Liu6✉, Xiao-zhong Zhou1✉, Cong Cao2,3,5✉

1. Department of Orthopedics, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
2. Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuropsychiatric Diseases and Institute of Neuroscience, Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
3. The Central Lab, North District, The Affiliated Suzhou Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Suzhou Municipal Hospital, Suzhou, China.
4. Department of Vascular Surgery, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China.
5. The Fourth School of Clinical Medicine, The Affiliated Eye Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
6. Clinical research & lab center, Affiliated Kunshan Hospital of Jiangsu University, Kunshan, China.
#Co-first authors.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Bai Jy, Li Y, Xue Gh, Li Kr, Zheng YF, Zhang Zq, Jiang Q, Liu Yy, Zhou Xz, Cao C. Requirement of Gαi1 and Gαi3 in interleukin-4-induced signaling, macrophage M2 polarization and allergic asthma response. Theranostics 2021; 11(10):4894-4909. doi:10.7150/thno.56383. Available from

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Graphic abstract

IL-4 induces Akt activation in macrophages, required for full M2 (alternative) polarization. We examined the roles of Gαi1 and Gαi3 in M2 polarization using multiple genetic methods.

Methods and Results: In MEFs and primary murine BMDMs, Gαi1/3 shRNA, knockout or dominant negative mutations attenuated IL-4-induced IL4Rα endocytosis, Gab1 recruitment as well as Akt activation, leaving STAT6 signaling unaffected. Following IL-4 stimulation, Gαi1/3 proteins associated with the intracellular domain of IL-4Rα and the APPL1 adaptor, to mediate IL-4Rα endosomal traffic and Gab1-Akt activation in BMDMs. In contrast, gene silencing of Gαi1/3 with shRNA or knockout resulted in BMDMs that were refractory to IL-4-induced M2 polarization. Conversely, Gαi1/3-overexpressed BMDMs displayed preferred M2 response with IL-4 stimulation. In primary human macrophages IL-4-induced Akt activation and Th2 genes expression were inhibited with Gαi1/3 silencing, but augmented with Gαi1/3 overexpression. In Gαi1/3 double knockout (DKO) mice, M2 polarization, by injection of IL-4 complex or chitin, was potently inhibited. Moreover, in a murine model of asthma, ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness were largely impaired in Gαi1/3 DKO mice.

Conclusion: These findings highlight novel and essential roles for Gαi1/3 in regulating IL-4-induced signaling, macrophage M2 polarization and allergic asthma response.

Keywords: IL-4, Gαi1/3, M2 polarization, allergic asthma response, signaling