bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒11‒07
five papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 02. pii: S2211-1247(21)01384-X. [Epub ahead of print]37(5): 109911
      Suppressive regulatory T cell (Treg) differentiation is controlled by diverse immunometabolic signaling pathways and intracellular metabolites. Here we show that cell-permeable α-ketoglutarate (αKG) alters the DNA methylation profile of naive CD4 T cells activated under Treg polarizing conditions, markedly attenuating FoxP3+ Treg differentiation and increasing inflammatory cytokines. Adoptive transfer of these T cells into tumor-bearing mice results in enhanced tumor infiltration, decreased FoxP3 expression, and delayed tumor growth. Mechanistically, αKG leads to an energetic state that is reprogrammed toward a mitochondrial metabolism, with increased oxidative phosphorylation and expression of mitochondrial complex enzymes. Furthermore, carbons from ectopic αKG are directly utilized in the generation of fatty acids, associated with lipidome remodeling and increased triacylglyceride stores. Notably, inhibition of either mitochondrial complex II or DGAT2-mediated triacylglyceride synthesis restores Treg differentiation and decreases the αKG-induced inflammatory phenotype. Thus, we identify a crosstalk between αKG, mitochondrial metabolism and triacylglyceride synthesis that controls Treg fate.
    Keywords:  CAR T cells; DNA methylation; T cell differentiation; TCA cycle; Th1; Treg; lipidome; mitochondrial metabolism; triacylglyceride synthesis; α-ketoglutarate
  2. Cell Metab. 2021 Nov 02. pii: S1550-4131(21)00488-5. [Epub ahead of print]33(11): 2260-2276.e7
      As tissue macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS), microglia constitute the pivotal immune cells of this organ. Microglial features are strongly dependent on environmental cues such as commensal microbiota. Gut bacteria are known to continuously modulate microglia maturation and function by the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). However, the precise mechanism of this crosstalk is unknown. Here we determined that the immature phenotype of microglia from germ-free (GF) mice is epigenetically imprinted by H3K4me3 and H3K9ac on metabolic genes associated with substantial functional alterations including increased mitochondrial mass and specific respiratory chain dysfunctions. We identified acetate as the essential microbiome-derived SCFA driving microglia maturation and regulating the homeostatic metabolic state, and further showed that it is able to modulate microglial phagocytosis and disease progression during neurodegeneration. These findings indicate that acetate is an essential bacteria-derived molecule driving metabolic pathways and functions of microglia during health and perturbation.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; SCFA; acetate; germ-free; metabolism; microbiota; microglia; mitochondria; respiratory chain
  3. Aging Cell. 2021 Oct 31. e13510
      Citrate is an essential substrate for energy metabolism that plays critical roles in regulating cell growth and survival. However, the action of citrate in regulating metabolism, cognition, and aging at the organismal level remains poorly understood. Here, we report that dietary supplementation with citrate significantly reduces energy status and extends lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster. Our genetic studies in fruit flies implicate a molecular mechanism associated with AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), target of rapamycin (TOR), and ketogenesis. Mice fed a high-fat diet that supplemented with citrate or the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB) also display improved metabolic health and memory. These results suggest that dietary citrate supplementation may prove to be a useful intervention in the future treatment of age-related dysfunction.
    Keywords:  dendritic spine; hippocampus; insulin; lifespan
  4. Bio Protoc. 2021 Oct 05. 11(19): e4170
      Elevations in cytosolic calcium (Ca2+) drive a wide array of immune cell functions, including cytokine production, gene expression, and cell motility. Live-cell imaging of cells loaded with ratiometric chemical Ca2+ indicators remains the gold standard for visualization and quantification of intracellular Ca2+ signals; ratiometric imaging can be accomplished with dyes such as Fura-2, the combination of Fluo-4 and Fura-Red, or, alternatively, by expressing genetically-encoded Ca2+ indicators (GECI) such as GCaMPs. Here, we describe a detailed protocol for Ca2+ imaging of T cells in vitro using genetically encoded or chemical indicators that can also be applied to a wide variety of cell types. The protocol addresses the challenge of facilitating T cell attachment on various substrates prepared on glass-bottom dishes to enable T cell imaging on an inverted microscope. The protocol also emphasizes cell preparation steps that ensure optimal cell viability - an essential requirement for recording dynamic changes in cytosolic Ca2+ levels - and that ensure reproducibility between multiple samples. Finally, we describe a simple algorithm to analyze single-cell Ca2+ signals over time using Fiji (ImageJ) software.
    Keywords:   Store-operated Ca2+ entry ; Calcium signaling; Single-cell imaging; T Cell Receptor (TCR) activation; T lymphocyte
  5. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 688485
      Lactate and the associated H+ ions are still introduced in many biochemistry and general biology textbooks and courses as a metabolic by-product within fast or oxygen-independent glycolysis. However, the role of lactate as a fuel source has been well-appreciated in the field of physiology, and the role of lactate as a metabolic feedback regulator and distinct signaling molecule is beginning to gain traction in the field of immunology. We now know that while lactate and the associated H+ ions are generally immunosuppressive negative regulators, there are cell, receptor, mediator, and microenvironment-specific effects that augment T helper (Th)17, macrophage (M)2, tumor-associated macrophage, and neutrophil functions. Moreover, we are beginning to uncover how lactate and H+ utilize different transporters and signaling cascades in various immune cell types. These immunomodulatory effects may have a substantial impact in cancer, sepsis, autoimmunity, wound healing, and other immunomodulatory conditions with elevated lactate levels. In this article, we summarize the known effects of lactate and H+ on immune cells to hypothesize potential explanations for the divergent inflammatory vs. anti-inflammatory effects.
    Keywords:  M2; Th17; immune; immunometabolism; immunosuppression; inflammation; lactate; lactic acid