Loss of mitochondrial protease CLPP activates type I interferon responses through the mtDNA-cGAS-STING signaling axis Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • AbstractCaseinolytic mitochondrial matrix peptidase proteolytic subunit, CLPP, is a serine protease that degrades damaged or misfolded mitochondrial proteins. CLPP null mice exhibit growth retardation, deafness, and sterility, resembling human Perrault syndrome (PS), but also display immune system alterations. However, the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways underlying immunological changes in CLPP null mice remain unclear. Here we report the steady state activation of type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling and antiviral gene expression in CLPP deficient cells and tissues. Depletion of the cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAS)-Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING) DNA sensing pathway ablates heightened IFN-I responses and abrogates the broad viral resistance phenotype of CLPP null cells. Moreover, we report that CLPP deficiency leads to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) instability and packaging alterations. Pharmacological and genetic approaches to deplete mtDNA or inhibit cytosolic release markedly reduce antiviral gene expression, implicating mtDNA stress as the driver of IFN-I signaling in CLPP null mice. Our work places the cGAS-STING-IFN-I innate immune pathway downstream of CLPP and may have implications for understanding myriad human diseases involving CLPP dysregulation.

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Torres-Odio, S., Lei, Y., Gispert, S., Maletzko, A., Key, J., Menissy, S., ... West, A. P.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Torres-Odio, Sylvia||Lei, Yuanjiu||Gispert, Suzana||Maletzko, Antonia||Key, Jana||Menissy, Saeed||Wittig, Ilka||Auburger, Georg||West, A Phillip

Book Title

  • bioRxiv

publication date

  • August 2020