TFAM-Dependent Mitochondrial Metabolism Is Required for Alveolar Macrophage Maintenance and Homeostasis

Xiaochen Gao, Bibo Zhu, Yue Wu, Chaofan Li, Xian Zhou, Jinyi Tang, Jie Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alveolar macrophages (AMs) are major lung tissue-resident macrophages capable of proliferating and self-renewal in situ. AMs are vital in pulmonary antimicrobial immunity and surfactant clearance. The mechanisms regulating AM compartment formation and maintenance remain to be fully elucidated currently. In this study, we have explored the roles of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) mediated mitochondrial fitness and metabolism in regulating AM formation and function. We found that TFAM deficiency in mice resulted in significantly reduced AM numbers and impaired AM maturation in vivo. TFAM deficiency was not required for the generation of AM precursors nor the differentiation of AM precursors into AMs, but was critical for the maintenance of AM compartment. Mechanistically, TFAM deficiency diminished gene programs associated with AM proliferation and self-renewal and promoted the expression of inflammatory genes in AMs. We further showed that TFAM-mediated AM compartment impairment resulted in defective clearance of cellular debris and surfactant in the lung and increased the host susceptibility to severe influenza virus infection. Finally, we found that influenza virus infection in AMs led to impaired TFAM expression and diminished mitochondrial fitness and metabolism. Thus, our data have established the critical function of TFAM-mediated mitochondrial metabolism in AM maintenance and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1456-1466
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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