BACKGROUND: We have previously shown that activation of cell-autonomous innate immune signaling facilitates the transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into induced endothelial cells, and is required to generate induced endothelial cells with high fidelity for endothelial lineage. Recent studies indicate that a glycolytic switch plays a role in induced pluripotent stem cell generation from somatic cells. METHODS: Seahorse and metabolomics flux assays were used to measure the metabolic changes during transdifferentiation in vitro, and Matrigel plug assay was used to assess the effects of glycolysis modulators on transdifferentiation in vivo. RESULTS: The metabolic switch begins rapidly after activation of innate immunity, before the expression of markers of endothelial lineage. Inhibiting glycolysis impaired, whereas facilitating glycolysis enhanced, the generation of induced endothelial cells. The toll-like receptor 3 agonist poly I:C increased expression of the mitochondrial citrate transporter Slc25A1, and the nuclear ATP-citrate lyase, in association with intracellular accumulation of citrate, the precursor for acetyl coenzyme A. These metabolic changes were coordinated with increased histone acetylation during transdifferentiation. CONCLUSION: Innate immune signaling promotes a glycolytic switch that is required for transdifferentiation, both processes being attenuated by ATP-citrate lyase knockdown. These data shed light on a novel link between metabolism and epigenetic modulation in transdifferentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-133
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Early online dateSep 28 2018
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019


  • cell transdifferentiation
  • endothelium
  • glycolysis
  • mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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