Activated immune cells undergo a metabolic switch to aerobic glycolysis akin to the Warburg effect, presenting a potential therapeutic target in autoimmune disease. Dimethyl fumarate, a derivative of the Krebs cycle intermediate fumarate, is an immunomodulatory drug used to treat multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. Although its therapeutic mechanism remains uncertain, it covalently modifies cysteine residues in a process termed “succination.” Here, we show that dimethyl fumarate succinates and inactivates the catalytic cysteine of the glycolytic enzyme GAPDH both in vitro and in vivo. It thereby downregulates aerobic glycolysis in activated myeloid and lymphoid cells, which mediates its anti-inflammatory effects. Our findings provide mechanistic insight into immune modulation by dimethyl fumarate and represent a proof of concept that aerobic glycolysis is a therapeutic target in autoimmunity.
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