T lymphocyte regulation by mevalonate metabolism

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Science Signaling  31 Mar 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 370, pp. re4
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005970


Whereas resting T cells, which have low metabolic requirements, use oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to maximize their generation of ATP, activated T cells, similar to tumor cells, shift metabolic activity to aerobic glycolysis, which also fuels mevalonate metabolism. Both sterol and nonsterol derivatives of mevalonate affect T cell function. The intracellular availability of sterols, which is dynamically regulated by different classes of transcription factors, represents a metabolic checkpoint that modulates T cell responses. The electron carrier ubiquinone, which is modified with an isoprenoid membrane anchor, plays a pivotal role in OXPHOS, which supports the proliferation of T cells. Isoprenylation also mediates the plasma membrane attachment of the Ras, Rho, and Rab guanosine triphosphatases, which are involved in T cell immunological synapse formation, migration, proliferation, and cytotoxic effector responses. Finally, multiple phosphorylated mevalonate derivatives can act as danger signals for innate-like γδ T cells, thus contributing to the immune surveillance of stress, pathogens, and tumors. We highlight the importance of the mevalonate pathway in the metabolic reprogramming of effector and regulatory T cells.

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