MKP-1 Modulates Mitochondrial Transcription Factors, Oxidative Phosphorylation, and Glycolysis

Christian Bauerfeld, Harvinder Talwar, Kezhong Zhang, Yusen Liu, Lobelia Samavati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Sepsis is the leading cause of death in the world. Recent reports suggest that in response to sepsis, metabolism of macrophages switches from oxidative phosphorylation to aerobic glycolysis. MAPK phosphatase (MKP)–1 (also known as DUSP1) localized in the nucleus and preferentially dephosphorylates p38 and JNK. MKP-1 controls the expression of numerous inflammatory genes and transcription factors, thereby regulating innate and adaptive immunity. MKP-1–deficient animals exhibit aberrant metabolic responses following bacterial infections with a markedly increased mortality in response to sepsis. Because metabolic reprogramming modulates immune responses to TLR-4 activation, we investigated the effect of MKP-1 deficiency on mitochondrial electron transport chains involved in oxidative phosphorylation and transcription factors regulating mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondrial biogenesis is regulated by three nuclear-encoded proteins, including transcription factor A (TFAM), nuclear respiratory factors (NRF-1), and peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor g coactivator-1-a (PGC-1a). We show that MKP-1–deficient mice/ macrophages exhibit, at baseline, higher expression of oxidative phosphorylation, TFAM, PGC-1a, and NRF-1 associated with increased respiration and production of reactive oxygen species as compared with wild-type mice. Surprisingly, MKP-1–deficient mice/macrophages responded to Escherichia coli sepsis or LPS with an impaired metabolic switch; despite enhanced glycolysis, a preserved mitochondrial function and biogenesis are exhibited. Furthermore, inhibition of p38 MAPK had no significant effect on TFAM and NRF-1 either in MKP-1–deficient macrophages or in wild-type macrophages. These findings support the conclusion that MKP-1 plays an important role in regulating proteins involved in glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation and modulates expression of mitochondrial transcription factors. ImmunoHorizons, 2020, 4: 245–258.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-258
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


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