STING regulates metabolic reprogramming in macrophages via HIF-1α during Brucella infection

Marco Tulio R. Gomes, Erika S. Guimarães, Fabio V. Marinho, Isabella Macedo, Eric R.G.R. Aguiar, Glen N. Barber, Pedro M.M. Moraes-Vieira, José Carlos AlvesFilho, Sergio C. Oliveira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macrophages metabolic reprogramming in response to microbial insults is a major determinant of pathogen growth or containment. Here, we reveal a distinct mechanism by which stimulator of interferon genes (STING), a cytosolic sensor that regulates innate immune responses, contributes to an inflammatory M1-like macrophage profile upon Brucella abortus infection. This metabolic reprogramming is induced by STING-dependent stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α), a global regulator of cellular metabolism and innate immune cell functions. HIF-1α stabilization reduces oxidative phosphorylation and increases glycolysis during infection with B. abortus and, likewise, enhances nitric oxide production, inflammasome activation and IL-1β release in infected macrophages. Furthermore, the induction of this inflammatory profile participates in the control of bacterial replication since absence of HIF-1α renders mice more susceptible to B. abortus infection. Mechanistically, activation of STING by B. abortus infection drives the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS) that ultimately influences HIF-1α stabilization. Moreover, STING increases the intracellular succinate concentration in infected macrophages, and succinate pretreatment induces HIF-1α stabilization and IL-1β release independently of its cognate receptor GPR91. Collectively, these data demonstrate a pivotal mechanism in the immunometabolic regulation of macrophages during B. abortus infection that is orchestrated by STING via HIF-1α pathway and highlight the metabolic reprogramming of macrophages as a potential treatment strategy for bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1009597
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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