mTOR is a central integrator of metabolic and immunological stimuli, dictating immune cell activation, proliferation and differentiation. In this study, we demonstrate that within a clonal population of activated T cells, there exist both mTORhi and mTOR lo cells exhibiting highly divergent metabolic and immunologic functions. By taking advantage of the role of mTOR activation in controlling cellular size, we demonstrate that upon antigen recognition, mTORhi CD4+ T cells are destined to become highly glycolytic effector cells. Conversely, mTOR lo T cells preferentially develop into long-lived cells that express high levels of Bcl-2, CD25, and CD62L. Furthermore, mTORlo T cells have a greater propensity to differentiate into suppressive Foxp3+ T regulatory cells, and this paradigm was also observed in human CD4+ T cells. Overall, these studies provide the opportunity to track the development of effector and memory T cells from naïve precursors, as well as facilitate the interrogation of immunologic and metabolic programs that inform these fates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences