Macrophages (MФ) are an essential immune cell for defense and repair that travel to different tissues and adapt based on local stimuli. A critical factor that may govern their polarization is the crosstalk between metabolism and epigenetics. However, simultaneous measurements of metabolites, epigenetics, and proteins (phenotype) have been a major technical challenge. To address this, we have developed a novel triomics approach using mass spectrometry to comprehensively analyze metabolites, proteins, and histone modifications in a single sample. To demonstrate this technique, we investigated the metabolic-epigenetic-phenotype axis following polarization of human blood–derived monocytes into either ‘proinflammatory M1-’ or ‘anti-inflammatory M2-’ MФs. We report here a complex relationship between arginine, tryptophan, glucose, and the citric acid cycle metabolism, protein and histone post-translational modifications, and human macrophage polarization that was previously not described. Surprisingly, M1-MФs had globally reduced histone acetylation levels but high levels of acetylated amino acids. This suggests acetyl-CoA was diverted, in part, toward acetylated amino acids. Consistent with this, stable isotope tracing of glucose revealed reduced usage of acetyl-CoA for histone acetylation in M1-MФs. Furthermore, isotope tracing also revealed MФs uncoupled glycolysis from the tricarboxylic acid cycle, as evidenced by poor isotope enrichment of succinate. M2-MФs had high levels of kynurenine and serotonin, which are reported to have immune-suppressive effects. Kynurenine is upstream of de novo NAD+ metabolism that is a necessary cofactor for Sirtuin-type histone deacetylases. Taken together, we demonstrate a complex interplay between metabolism and epigenetics that may ultimately influence cell phenotype.
- Macrophage, macrophage polarization, multiomics, histone modifications, epigenetics, metabolism and epigenetics, mass spectrometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology