Non-canonical glutamine transamination sustains efferocytosis by coupling redox buffering to oxidative phosphorylation

Johanna Merlin, Stoyan Ivanov, Adélie Dumont, Alexey Sergushichev, Julie Gall, Marion Stunault, Marion Ayrault, Nathalie Vaillant, Alexia Castiglione, Amanda Swain, Francois Orange, Alexandre Gallerand, Thierry Berton, Jean Charles Martin, Stefania Carobbio, Justine Masson, Inna Gaisler-Salomon, Pierre Maechler, Stephen Rayport, Judith C. SluimerErik A.L. Biessen, Rodolphe R. Guinamard, Emmanuel L. Gautier, Edward B. Thorp, Maxim N. Artyomov, Laurent Yvan-Charvet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Macrophages rely on tightly integrated metabolic rewiring to clear dying neighboring cells by efferocytosis during homeostasis and disease. Here we reveal that glutaminase-1-mediated glutaminolysis is critical to promote apoptotic cell clearance by macrophages during homeostasis in mice. In addition, impaired macrophage glutaminolysis exacerbates atherosclerosis, a condition during which, efficient apoptotic cell debris clearance is critical to limit disease progression. Glutaminase-1 expression strongly correlates with atherosclerotic plaque necrosis in patients with cardiovascular diseases. High-throughput transcriptional and metabolic profiling reveals that macrophage efferocytic capacity relies on a non-canonical transaminase pathway, independent from the traditional requirement of glutamate dehydrogenase to fuel ɑ-ketoglutarate-dependent immunometabolism. This pathway is necessary to meet the unique requirements of efferocytosis for cellular detoxification and high-energy cytoskeletal rearrangements. Thus, we uncover a role for non-canonical glutamine metabolism for efficient clearance of dying cells and maintenance of tissue homeostasis during health and disease in mouse and humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1313-1326
Number of pages14
JournalNature Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cell Biology


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