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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)