Itaconic Acid: The Surprising Role of an Industrial Compound as a Mammalian Antimicrobial Metabolite

Thekla Cordes*, Alessandro Michelucci, Karsten Hiller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Itaconic acid is well known as a precursor for polymer synthesis and has been involved in industrial processes for decades. In a recent surprising discovery, itaconic acid was found to play a role as an immune-supportive metabolite in mammalian immune cells, where it is synthesized as an antimicrobial compound from the citric acid cycle intermediate cis-aconitic acid. Although the immune-responsive gene 1 protein (IRG1) has been associated to immune response without a mechanistic function, the critical link to itaconic acid production through an enzymatic function of this protein was only recently revealed. In this review, we highlight the history of itaconic acid as an industrial and antimicrobial compound, starting with its biotechnological synthesis and ending with its antimicrobial function in mammalian immune cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-473
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Nutrition
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Immune-responsive gene 1 protein (IRG1)
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophage
  • Metabolic immunity
  • Metabolism
  • cis-aconitic acid decarboxylase

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