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Cell Metab. 2013 Aug 6;18(2):265-78. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.06.018.

Immunoresponsive gene 1 augments bactericidal activity of macrophage-lineage cells by regulating β-oxidation-dependent mitochondrial ROS production.

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Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.


Evidence suggests the bactericidal activity of mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species (mROS) directly contributes to killing phagocytozed bacteria. Infection-responsive components that regulate this process remain incompletely understood. We describe a role for the mitochondria-localizing enzyme encoded by Immunoresponsive gene 1 (IRG1) during the utilization of fatty acids as a fuel for oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and associated mROS production. In a zebrafish infection model, infection-responsive expression of zebrafish irg1 is specific to macrophage-lineage cells and is regulated cooperatively by glucocorticoid and JAK/STAT signaling pathways. Irg1-depleted macrophage-lineage cells are impaired in their ability to utilize fatty acids as an energy substrate for OXPHOS-derived mROS production resulting in defective bactericidal activity. Additionally, the requirement for fatty acid β-oxidation during infection-responsive mROS production and bactericidal activity toward intracellular bacteria is conserved in murine macrophages. These results reveal IRG1 as a key component of the immunometabolism axis, connecting infection, cellular metabolism, and macrophage effector function.

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