Caspase-11 drives macrophage hyperinflammation in models of Polg-related mitochondrial disease. Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • Mitochondrial diseases (MtD) represent a significant public health challenge due to their heterogenous clinical presentation, often severe and progressive symptoms, and the lack of effective therapies. Environmental exposures, such bacterial and viral infection, can further compromise mitochondrial function and exacerbate the progression of MtD. Infections in MtD patients more frequently progress to sepsis, pneumonia, and other detrimental inflammatory endpoints. However, the underlying immune alterations that enhance immunopathology in MtD remain unclear, constituting a key gap in knowledge that complicates treatment and increases mortality in this population. Here we employ in vitro and in vivo approaches to clarify the molecular and cellular basis for innate immune hyperactivity in models of polymerase gamma (Polg)-related MtD. We reveal that type I interferon (IFN-I)-mediated upregulation of caspase-11 and guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) increase macrophage sensing of the opportunistic microbe Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) in Polg mutant mice. Furthermore, we show that excessive macrophage cytokine secretion and pyroptotic cell death contribute to lung inflammation and morbidity after infection with PA. Our work sheds new light on innate immune dysregulation in MtD and reveals potential targets for limiting infection- and inflammation-related complications in Polg-related MtD.

author list (cited authors)

  • VanPortfliet, J. J., Lei, Y., Martinez, C. G., Wong, J., Pflug, K., Sitcheran, R., ... West, A. P.

complete list of authors

  • VanPortfliet, Jordyn J||Lei, Yuanjiu||Martinez, Camila Guerra||Wong, Jessica||Pflug, Kathryn||Sitcheran, Raquel||Kneeland, Stephen C||Murray, Stephen A||McGuire, Peter J||Cannon, Carolyn L||West, A Phillip

Book Title

  • bioRxiv

publication date

  • May 2024