Editors' ChoiceImmunology

LEM gets T cells the energy they need

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Sci. Signal.  02 Jun 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 379, pp. ec145
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aac6713

During an infection, T cells proliferate extensively to build a sufficient army to defeat the invading pathogen. Carefully regulated changes in metabolism let T cells do this, but the specific nature of these changes is not fully understood. Using forward genetics in mice to screen for genes that regulate T cell immunity, Okoye et al. identified a mutation in the gene that encodes a protein they named lymphocyte expansion molecule (LEM) (see the Perspective by O'Sullivan and Pearce). LEM enhanced T cell immunity, including both proliferation and memory cell generation, in response to chronic viral infection. LEM facilitated these changes through effects on mitochondrial respiration.

I. Okoye, L. Wang, K. Pallmer, K. Richter, T. Ichimura, R. Haas, J. Crouse, O. Choi, D. Heathcote, E. Lovo, C. Mauro, R. Abdi, A. Oxenius, S. Rutschmann, P. G. Ashton-Rickardt, The protein LEM promotes CD8+ T cell immunity through effects on mitochondrial respiration. Science 348, 995–1001 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]

D. O'Sullivan, E. L. Pearce, Expanding the role of metabolism in T cells. Science 348, 976–977 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]