Pattern recognition receptor responses are profoundly attenuated before the third trimester of gestation in the relatively low-oxygen human fetal environment. However, the mechanisms regulating these responses are uncharacterized. Herein, genome-wide transcription and functional metabolic experiments in primary neonatal monocytes linked the negative mTOR regulator DDIT4L to metabolic stress, cellular bioenergetics, and innate immune activity. Using genetically engineered monocytic U937 cells, we confirmed that DDIT4L overexpression altered mitochondrial dynamics, suppressing their activity, and blunted LPS-induced cytokine responses. We also showed that monocyte mitochondrial function is more restrictive in earlier gestation, resembling the phenotype of DDIT4L-overexpressing U937 cells. Gene expression analyses in neonatal granulocytes and lung macrophages in preterm infants confirmed upregulation of the DDIT4L gene in the early postnatal period and also suggested a potential protective role against inflammation-associated chronic neonatal lung disease. Taken together, these data show that DDIT4L regulates mitochondrial activity and provide what we believe to be the first direct evidence for its potential role supressing innate immune activity in myeloid cells during development.


Christina Michalski, Claire Cheung, Ju Hee Oh, Emma Ackermann, Constantin R. Popescu, Anne-Sophie Archambault, Martin A. Prusinkiewicz, Rachel Da Silva, Abdelilah Majdoubi, Marina Viñeta Paramo, Rui Yang Xu, Frederic Reicherz, Annette E. Patterson, Liam Golding, Ashish A. Sharma, Chinten J. Lim, Paul C. Orban, Ramon I. Klein Geltink, Pascal M. Lavoie


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