Type I interferon potentiates metabolic dysfunction, inflammation, and accelerated aging in mtDNA mutator mice Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • AbstractMitochondrial dysfunction is a key driver of inflammatory responses in human disease. However, it remains unclear whether alterations in mitochondria-innate immune crosstalk contribute to the pathobiology of mitochondrial disorders and aging. Using the polymerase gamma (POLG) mutator model of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) instability, we report that aberrant activation of the type I interferon (IFN-I) innate immune axis potentiates immunometabolic dysfunction, reduces healthspan, and accelerates aging in mutator mice. Mechanistically, elevated IFN-I signaling suppresses activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), which increases oxidative stress, enhances pro-inflammatory cytokine responses, and accelerates metabolic dysfunction. Ablation of IFN-I signaling attenuates hyper-inflammatory phenotypes by restoring Nrf2 activity and reducing aerobic glycolysis, which combine to lessen cardiovascular and myeloid dysfunction in aged mutator mice. These findings further advance our knowledge of how mitochondrial dysfunction shapes innate immune responses and provide a framework for understanding mitochondria-driven immunopathology in POLG-related diseases and aging.

altmetric score

  • 5.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Lei, Y., Martinez, C. G., Torres-Odio, S., Bell, S. L., Birdwell, C. E., Bryant, J. D., ... West, A. P.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Lei, Yuanjiu||Martinez, Camila Guerra||Torres-Odio, Sylvia||Bell, Samantha L||Birdwell, Christine E||Bryant, Joshua D||Tong, Carl W||Watson, Robert O||West, Laura Ciaccia||West, A Phillip

Book Title

  • bioRxiv

publication date

  • September 2020