bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2020‒11‒22
eight papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Nat Metab. 2020 Nov;2(11): 1265-1283
      Declining tissue nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels are linked to ageing and its associated diseases. However, the mechanism for this decline is unclear. Here, we show that pro-inflammatory M1-like macrophages, but not naive or M2 macrophages, accumulate in metabolic tissues, including visceral white adipose tissue and liver, during ageing and acute responses to inflammation. These M1-like macrophages express high levels of the NAD-consuming enzyme CD38 and have enhanced CD38-dependent NADase activity, thereby reducing tissue NAD levels. We also find that senescent cells progressively accumulate in visceral white adipose tissue and liver during ageing and that inflammatory cytokines secreted by senescent cells (the senescence-associated secretory phenotype, SASP) induce macrophages to proliferate and express CD38. These results uncover a new causal link among resident tissue macrophages, cellular senescence and tissue NAD decline during ageing and offer novel therapeutic opportunities to maintain NAD levels during ageing.
  2. EMBO J. 2020 Nov 20. e104532
      Metabolic fitness of T cells is crucial for immune responses against infections and tumorigenesis. Both the T cell receptor (TCR) signal and environmental cues contribute to the induction of T cell metabolic reprogramming, but the underlying mechanism is incompletely understood. Here, we identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase Peli1 as an important regulator of T cell metabolism and antitumor immunity. Peli1 ablation profoundly promotes tumor rejection, associated with increased tumor-infiltrating CD4 and CD8 T cells. The Peli1-deficient T cells display markedly stronger metabolic activities, particularly glycolysis, than wild-type T cells. Peli1 controls the activation of a metabolic kinase, mTORC1, stimulated by both the TCR signal and growth factors, and this function of Peli1 is mediated through regulation of the mTORC1-inhibitory proteins, TSC1 and TSC2. Peli1 mediates non-degradative ubiquitination of TSC1, thereby promoting TSC1-TSC2 dimerization and TSC2 stabilization. These results establish Peli1 as a novel regulator of mTORC1 and downstream mTORC1-mediated actions on T cell metabolism and antitumor immunity.
    Keywords:  Peli1; T cell metabolism; antitumor immunity; mTORC1; ubiquitination
  3. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 11. pii: S1550-4131(20)30591-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Effector regulatory T (eTreg) cells are essential for immune tolerance and depend upon T cell receptor (TCR) signals for generation. The immunometabolic signaling mechanisms that promote the differentiation and maintenance of eTreg cells remain unclear. Here, we show that isoprenoid-dependent posttranslational lipid modifications dictate eTreg cell accumulation and function by intersecting with TCR-induced intracellular signaling. We find that isoprenoids are essential for activated Treg cell suppressive activity, and Treg cell-specific deletion of the respective farnesylation- and geranylgeranylation-promoting enzymes Fntb or Pggt1b leads to the development of fatal autoimmunity, associated with reduced eTreg cell accumulation. Mechanistically, Fntb promotes eTreg cell maintenance by regulating mTORC1 activity and ICOS expression. In contrast, Pggt1b acts as a rheostat of TCR-dependent transcriptional programming and Rac-mediated signaling for establishment of eTreg cell differentiation and immune tolerance. Therefore, our results identify bidirectional metabolic signaling, specifically between immunoreceptor signaling and metabolism-mediated posttranslational lipid modifications, for the differentiation and maintenance of eTreg cells.
    Keywords:  Fntb; Pggt1b; Treg cells; immunometabolism; mTOR; protein prenylation
  4. Nat Metab. 2020 Nov;2(11): 1284-1304
      Decreased NAD+ levels have been shown to contribute to metabolic dysfunction during aging. NAD+ decline can be partially prevented by knockout of the enzyme CD38. However, it is not known how CD38 is regulated during aging, and how its ecto-enzymatic activity impacts NAD+ homeostasis. Here we show that an increase in CD38 in white adipose tissue (WAT) and the liver during aging is mediated by accumulation of CD38+ immune cells. Inflammation increases CD38 and decreases NAD+. In addition, senescent cells and their secreted signals promote accumulation of CD38+ cells in WAT, and ablation of senescent cells or their secretory phenotype decreases CD38, partially reversing NAD+ decline. Finally, blocking the ecto-enzymatic activity of CD38 can increase NAD+ through a nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)-dependent process. Our findings demonstrate that senescence-induced inflammation promotes accumulation of CD38 in immune cells that, through its ecto-enzymatic activity, decreases levels of NMN and NAD+.
  5. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2020 Nov 17. pii: S1084-9521(20)30173-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient that plays a key role in regulating the immune system. T cells are of particular interest due to their important role in promoting adaptive immunity against pathogens and cancer as well as regulating tolerance, all of which are influenced by dietary Se levels. The biological effects of Se are mainly exerted through the actions of the proteins into which it is inserted, i.e. selenoproteins. Thus, the roles that selenoproteins play in regulating T cell biology and molecular mechanisms involved have emerged as important areas of research for understanding how selenium affects immunity. Members of this diverse family of proteins exhibit a wide variety of functions within T cells that include regulating calcium flux induced by T cell receptor (TCR) engagement, shaping the redox tone of T cells before, during, and after activation, and linking TCR-induced activation to metabolic reprogramming required for T cell proliferation and differentiation. This review summarizes recent insights into the roles that selenoproteins play in these processes and their implications in understanding how Se may influence immunity.
    Keywords:  Activation; Differentiation; Immune; Proliferation; Selenium; Selenocysteine
  6. Bioconjug Chem. 2020 Nov 15.
      Mitochondria, colloquially known as "the powerhouse of the cell", play important roles in production, but also in processes critical for cellular fate such as cell death, differentiation, signaling, metabolic homeostasis, and innate immunity. Due to its many functions in the cell, the mitochondria have been linked to a variety of human illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. In order to further our understanding and pharmaceutical targeting of this critical organelle, effective strategies must be employed to breach the complex barriers and microenvironment of mitochondria. Here, we summarize advancements in mitochondria-targeted probes and therapeutics.
  7. Nutr Res. 2020 Sep 19. pii: S0271-5317(20)30529-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glutamine and glucose are both oxidized in the mitochondria to supply the majority of usable energy for processes of cellular function. Low levels of plasma and skeletal muscle glutamine are associated with severe illness. We hypothesized that glutamine deficiency would disrupt mitochondrial integrity and impair cell function. C2C12 mouse myoblasts were cultured in control media supplemented with 5.6 mmol/L glucose and 2 mmol/L glutamine, glutamine depletion (Gln-) or glucose depletion (Glc-) media. We compared mitochondrial morphology and function, as well as cell proliferation, myogenic differentiation, and heat-shock response in these cells. Glc- cells exhibited slightly elongated mitochondrial networks and increased mitochondrial mass, with normal membrane potential (ΔΨm). Mitochondria in Gln- cells became hyperfused and swollen, which were accompanied by severe disruption of cristae and decreases in ΔΨm, mitochondrial mass, the inner mitochondrial membrane remodeling protein OPA1, electron transport chain complex IV protein expression, and markers of mitochondrial biogenesis and bioenergetics. In addition, Gln- increased the autophagy marker LC3B-II on the mitochondrial membrane. Notably, basal mitochondrial respiration was increased in Glc- cells as compared to control cells, whereas maximal respiration remained unchanged. In contrast, basal respiration, maximal respiration and reserve capacity were all decreased in Gln- cells. Consistent with the aforementioned mitochondrial deficits, Gln- cells had lower growth rates and myogenic differentiation, as well as a higher rate of cell death under heat stress conditions than Glc- and control cells. We conclude that glutamine is essential for mitochondrial integrity and function; glutamine depletion impairs myoblast proliferation, differentiation, and the heat-shock response.
    Keywords:  mitochondrial bioenergetics; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion; mitophagy; nutrient depletion; oxidative phosphorylation