Type 1 Interferons Induce Changes in Core Metabolism that Are Critical for Immune Function

Duojiao Wu, David E. Sanin, Bart Everts, Qiongyu Chen, Jing Qiu, Michael D. Buck, Annette Patterson, Amber M. Smith, Chih Hao Chang, Zhiping Liu, Maxim N. Artyomov, Erika L. Pearce, Marina Cella, Edward J. Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations


Greater understanding of the complex host responses induced by type 1 interferon (IFN) cytokines could allow new therapeutic approaches for diseases in which these cytokines are implicated. We found that in response to the Toll-like receptor-9 agonist CpGA, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produced type 1 IFNs, which, through an autocrine type 1 IFN receptor-dependent pathway, induced changes in cellular metabolism characterized by increased fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Direct inhibition of FAO and of pathways that support this process, such as fatty acid synthesis, prevented full pDC activation. Type 1 IFNs also induced increased FAO and OXPHOS in non-hematopoietic cells and were found to be responsible for increased FAO and OXPHOS in virus-infected cells. Increased FAO and OXPHOS in response to type 1 IFNs was regulated by PPARα. Our findings reveal FAO, OXPHOS and PPARα as potential targets to therapeutically modulate downstream effects of type 1 IFNs. Type 1 IFN cytokines play complex and incompletely understood roles in immunity. Pearce and colleagues have shown that these cytokines upregulate fatty acid oxidation and that this metabolic change plays a critical role in plasmacytoid dendritic cell activation and in anti-viral effects induced by type 1 IFNs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1325-1336
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 21 2016


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