Regulation of Oxidative Stress by Methylation-Controlled J Protein Controls Macrophage Responses to Inflammatory Insults

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Mitochondria contribute to macrophage immune function through the generation of reactive oxygen species, a byproduct of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. MCJ (also known as DnaJC15) is a mitochondrial inner membrane protein identified as an endogenous inhibitor of respiratory chain complex I. Here we show that MCJ is essential for the production of tumor necrosis factor by macrophages in response to a variety of Toll-like receptor ligands and bacteria, without affecting their phagocytic activity. Loss of MCJ in macrophages results in increased mitochondrial respiration and elevated basal levels of reactive oxygen species that cause activation of the JNK/c-Jun pathway, lead to the upregulation of the TACE (also known as ADAM17) inhibitor TIMP-3, and lead to the inhibition of tumor necrosis factor shedding from the plasma membrane. Consequently, MCJ-deficient mice are resistant to the development of fulminant liver injury upon lipopolysaccharide administration. Thus, attenuation of the mitochondrial respiratory chain by MCJ in macrophages exquisitely regulates the response of macrophages to infectious insults.

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