IRF8 directs stress-induced autophagy in macrophages and promotes clearance of Listeria monocytogenes

Monica Gupta, Dong Mi Shin, Lakshmi Ramakrishna, Dennis J. Goussetis, Leonidas C. Platanias, Huabao Xiong, Herbert C. Morse, Keiko Ozato*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Autophagy, activated by many stresses, plays a critical role in innate immune responses. Here we show that interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) is required for the expression of autophagy-related genes in dendritic cells. Furthermore in macrophages, IRF8 is induced by multiple autophagy-inducing stresses, including IFNγ and Toll-like receptor stimulation, bacterial infection, starvation and by macrophage colony-stimulating factor. IRF8 directly activates many genes involved in various steps of autophagy, promoting autophagosome formation and lysosomal fusion. Consequently, Irf8 -/- macrophages are deficient in autophagic activity, and excessively accumulate SQSTM1 and ubiquitin-bound proteins. We show that clearance of Listeria monocytogenes in macrophages requires IRF8-dependent activation of autophagy genes and subsequent autophagic capturing and degradation of Listeria antigens. These processes are defective in Irf8 -/- macrophages where uninhibited bacterial growth ensues. Together these data suggest that IRF8 is a major autophagy regulator in macrophages, essential for macrophage maturation, survival and innate immune responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6379
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Apr 23 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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