Macrophage mitochondrial bioenergetics and tissue invasion are boosted by an Atossa-Porthos axis in Drosophila

Shamsi Emtenani, Elliot T. Martin, Attila Gyoergy, Julia Bicher, Jakob Wendelin Genger, Thomas Köcher, Maria Akhmanova, Mariana Guarda, Marko Roblek, Andreas Bergthaler, Thomas R. Hurd, Prashanth Rangan, Daria E. Siekhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cellular metabolism must adapt to changing demands to enable homeostasis. During immune responses or cancer metastasis, cells leading migration into challenging environments require an energy boost, but what controls this capacity is unclear. Here, we study a previously uncharacterized nuclear protein, Atossa (encoded by CG9005), which supports macrophage invasion into the germband of Drosophila by controlling cellular metabolism. First, nuclear Atossa increases mRNA levels of Porthos, a DEAD-box protein, and of two metabolic enzymes, lysine-α-ketoglutarate reductase (LKR/SDH) and NADPH glyoxylate reductase (GR/HPR), thus enhancing mitochondrial bioenergetics. Then Porthos supports ribosome assembly and thereby raises the translational efficiency of a subset of mRNAs, including those affecting mitochondrial functions, the electron transport chain, and metabolism. Mitochondrial respiration measurements, metabolomics, and live imaging indicate that Atossa and Porthos power up OxPhos and energy production to promote the forging of a path into tissues by leading macrophages. Since many crucial physiological responses require increases in mitochondrial energy output, this previously undescribed genetic program may modulate a wide range of cellular behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere109049
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • immune cell infiltration
  • mitochondrial bioenergetics
  • oxidative phosphorylation
  • protein translation
  • transcription factor


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