DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The spleen is required for the generation of systemic tolerance to apoptotic cells. We have recently shown a specialized set of macrophages residing in the marginal zone region of the red pulp drive immunologic tolerance to apoptotic material and in their absence apoptotic cells induce inflammation and autoimmune reactivity. While it is not known how this occurs on a mechanistic level, we have found apoptotic cells provoke expression of a tryptophan-catabolizing enzyme, indoleamine 2, 3 dioxygenase (IDO), which is critical for immune suppression in a variety of inflammatory settings. Further we discovered blockade of IDO greatly altered the way macrophages and dendritic cells respond to apoptotic cells with increased inflammatory immunity and autoimmune disease activity in lupus-prone animals. Thus the data suggest a novel mechanism whereby IDO activity in macrophages controls both innate and adaptive immunity to apoptotic cells. Our proposed project will examine how apoptotic cells driven IDO activity impacts mTOR signals in marginal zone macrophages, how IDO-driven tryptophan metabolism impacts apoptotic cell-mediated tolerance, and mechanisms by which IDO may influence Treg activation; finally testing these mechanisms in an experimental model of systemic lupus erythematosus. Thus, the findings of this project could have enormous implications in diseases of hypo and hyper-immunity where modulation of the tolerogenic rheostat would provide significant clinical benefit.