Mitochondrial electron transport chain is necessary for NLRP3 inflammasome activation

Leah K. Billingham, Joshua S. Stoolman, Karthik Vasan, Arianne E. Rodriguez, Taylor A. Poor, Marten Szibor, Howard T. Jacobs, Colleen R. Reczek, Aida Rashidi, Peng Zhang, Jason Miska, Navdeep S. Chandel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations

Abstract

The NLRP3 inflammasome is linked to sterile and pathogen-dependent inflammation, and its dysregulation underlies many chronic diseases. Mitochondria have been implicated as regulators of the NLRP3 inflammasome through several mechanisms including generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we report that mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complex I, II, III and V inhibitors all prevent NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Ectopic expression of Saccharomyces cerevisiae NADH dehydrogenase (NDI1) or Ciona intestinalis alternative oxidase, which can complement the functional loss of mitochondrial complex I or III, respectively, without generation of ROS, rescued NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the absence of endogenous mitochondrial complex I or complex III function. Metabolomics revealed phosphocreatine (PCr), which can sustain ATP levels, as a common metabolite that is diminished by mitochondrial ETC inhibitors. PCr depletion decreased ATP levels and NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Thus, the mitochondrial ETC sustains NLRP3 inflammasome activation through PCr-dependent generation of ATP, but via a ROS-independent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-704
Number of pages13
JournalNature Immunology
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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