Cellular Metabolism Controls Lymphocyte Activation and Differentiation

Jonathan D. Powell, Im Hong Sun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Upon antigen recognition, activated lymphocytes differentiate into different subsets depending on the cytokine environment. It is clear that in addition to the signaling and transcriptional reprogramming that governs lymphocyte activation, metabolic reprogramming plays an essential role in the activation and differentiation process. While naïve T cells utilize glucose oxidation through the TCA cycle, activated lymphocytes engage mainly in aerobic glycolysis, a phenomenon that has been long observed in tumor cells. While effector T cells show a higher glycolytic rate, memory T cells and also regulatory T cells show higher dependence on fatty acid oxidation. To this end, several molecules and enzymes critical for regulating metabolism have also emerged as playing an important role in guiding both T cell differentiation and function. Understanding how metabolism regulates different T cell subsets provides a new avenue by which to therapeutically regulate immune-mediated diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationActivation of the Immune System
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780080921525
StatePublished - Apr 27 2016


  • AMPK
  • Effector
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Fatty acid synthesis
  • Glycolysis
  • HIF-1
  • Memory
  • Metabolism
  • MTOR
  • MYC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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