Therapeutic Targeting of Endosome and Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Protects Mice From Influenza Virus Morbidity

Eunice E. To, Jonathan R. Erlich, Felicia Liong, Stella Liong, Raymond Luong, Osezua Oseghale, Mark A. Miles, Paris C. Papagianis, Kylie M. Quinn, Steven Bozinovski, Ross Vlahos, Robert D. Brooks, John J. O’Leary, Doug A. Brooks, Stavros Selemidis

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2 Citations (Scopus)


There is an urgent need to develop effective therapeutic strategies including immunomodulators to combat influenza A virus (IAV) infection. Influenza A viruses increase ROS production, which suppress anti-viral responses and contribute to pathological inflammation and morbidity. Two major cellular sites of ROS production are endosomes via the NOX2-oxidase enzyme and the electron transport chain in mitochondria. Here we examined the effect of administration of Cgp91ds-TAT, an endosome-targeted NOX2 oxidase inhibitor, in combination with mitoTEMPO, a mitochondrial ROS scavenger and compared it to monotherapy treatment during an established IAV infection. Mice were infected with IAV (Hkx31 strain; 104PFU/mouse) and 24 h post infection were treated with Cgp91ds-TAT (0.2 mg/kg), mitoTEMPO (100 μg) or with a combination of these inhibitors [Cgp91ds-TAT (0.2 mg/kg)/mitoTEMPO (100 μg)] intranasally every day for up to 2 days post infection (pi). Mice were euthanized on Days 3 or 6 post infection for analyses of disease severity. A combination of Cgp91ds-TAT and mitoTEMPO treatment was more effective than the ROS inhibitors alone at reducing airway and neutrophilic inflammation, bodyweight loss, lung oedema and improved the lung pathology with a reduction in alveolitis following IAV infection. Dual ROS inhibition also caused a significant elevation in Type I IFN expression at the early phase of infection (day 3 pi), however, this response was suppressed at the later phase of infection (day 6 pi). Furthermore, combined treatment with Cgp91ds-TAT and mitoTEMPO resulted in an increase in IAV-specific CD8+ T cells in the lungs. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the reduction of ROS production in two major subcellular sites, i.e. endosomes and mitochondria, by intranasal delivery of a combination of Cgp91ds-TAT and mitoTEMPO, suppresses the severity of influenza infection and highlights a novel immunomodulatory approach for IAV disease management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number870156
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2022


  • airway inflammation
  • endosome
  • inflammation
  • influenza A virus
  • lung inflammation
  • mitochondria
  • NADPH oxidase
  • reactive oxygen

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