MTFMT deficiency correlates with reduced mitochondrial integrity and enhanced host susceptibility to intracellular infection

Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 7;10(1):11183. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-68053-8.

Abstract

Mitochondria behave as functional and structural hubs for innate defense against intracellular infection. While the mitochondrial membrane serves as a platform for the assembly of signaling complexes activated by intracellular infection, various danger molecules derived from impaired mitochondria activate innate signaling pathways. Using methionyl-tRNA formyl transferase (MTFMT)-deficient cells, which exhibit impaired mitochondrial activity, we examined the role of mitochondrial integrity in regulating innate defense against infection. Since MTFMT functions at the early steps of mitochondrial translation, its loss was expected to cause defects in mitochondrial activity. Under transient MTFMT gene silencing conditions, we observed shortened mitochondria along with reduced activity. MTFMT-silenced cells were more susceptible to intracellular infection, as examined by infection with RNA viruses and the intracellular bacterium Shigella flexneri. In support of this observation, MTFMT-silenced cells possessed lowered basal NF-κB activity, which remained low after S. flexneri infection. In addition, the mitochondrial accumulation of evolutionarily conserved signaling intermediate in Toll pathway (ECSIT), an adaptor protein for NF-κB activation, was significantly decreased in MTFMT-silenced cells, explaining the reduced NF-κB activity observed in these cells. Since impaired mitochondria likely release mitochondrial molecules, we evaluated the contribution of mitochondrial N-formyl peptides to the regulation of bacterial infection. Transient transfection of mitochondrial-derived N-formyl peptides favored S. flexneri infection, which was accompanied by enhanced bacterial survival, but did not affect host cell viability. However, transient transfection of mitochondrial-derived N-formyl peptides did not affect basal NF-κB activity. Altogether, these data suggest that the integrity of mitochondria is essential to their proper function in protecting against infection, as intact mitochondria not only block the release of danger molecules but also serve as signaling hubs for the downstream NF-κB pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / genetics*
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / immunology
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethyl and Formyl Transferases / deficiency
  • Hydroxymethyl and Formyl Transferases / genetics*
  • Hydroxymethyl and Formyl Transferases / metabolism
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism

Substances

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Ecsit protein, human
  • NF-kappa B
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Hydroxymethyl and Formyl Transferases
  • methionyl-tRNA formyltransferase