Systemic metabolic reprogramming induced by infection exerts profound, pathogen-specific effects on infection outcome. Here, we detail the host immune and metabolic response during sickness and recovery in a mouse model of malaria. We describe extensive alterations in metabolism during acute infection, and identify increases in host-derived metabolites that signal through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), a transcription factor with immunomodulatory functions. We find that Ahr-/- mice are more susceptible to malaria and develop high plasma heme and acute kidney injury. This phenotype is dependent on AHR in Tek-expressing radioresistant cells. Our findings identify a role for AHR in limiting tissue damage during malaria. Furthermore, this work demonstrates the critical role of host metabolism in surviving infection.
Keywords: aryl hydrocarbon receptor; infectious disease; malaria; metabolism; microbiology; mouse.
© 2020, Lissner et al.