Metabolism

Activated T cells' mitochodria adapt

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Science  05 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6299, pp. 554-555
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6299.554-f

When activated, T lymphocytes increase their mitochondria, in both size and number.

PHOTO: RON-HAREL ET AL., CELL METABOLISM (12 JULY 2016) © 2016 CELL PRESS

Proliferation of mitochondria provides not only a way for cells to increase the metabolic function of existing organelles but also an opportunity to adjust the mitochondria for specialized functions. Ron-Harel et al. quantified proteomic changes in the mitochondria of activated mouse CD4+ T cells. To support rapid proliferation of the activated cells, new mitochondria showed an increased abundance of enzymes that participate in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism. Blocking this pathway by depleting the mitochondrial serine hydroxymethyltransferase enzyme inhibited T cell proliferation and survival. Such remodeling of mitochondrial function, along with replication, may be an important step in how cells adapt to physiological or pathological stimuli.

Cell Metab. 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.007 (2016).

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