T Cell Metabolism

Complementing metabolic demands

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Science  03 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6243, pp. 43
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6243.43-f

For T cells, fighting infections is taxing work. T cells must proliferate and produce inflammatory mediators that help rid the body of infection. Doing so requires that they change their metabolism; for instance, by increasing their glycolytic capacity. How T cells do this at a molecular level, however, remains incompletely understood. Kolev et al. studied how this occurs in human T helper 1 (TH1) cells, which are important for clearing intracellular infections. When activated, TH1 cells produced complement C3b, an ancient innate immune mediator, which signaled in an autocrine manner to drive increases in nutrient uptake, glycolysis, and oxidative phosphorylation. These data highlight how the immune system can repurpose its components for evolutionary advantage.

Immunity 42, 1033 (2015).

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