Metabolic regulation of T cell differentiation and function

Benjamin V. Park, Fan Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Upon encountering pathogens, T cells mount immune responses by proliferating, increasing cellular mass and differentiating. These cellular changes impose significant energetic challenges on T cells. It was believed that TCR and cytokine-mediated signaling are dominant dictators of T cell-mediated immune responses. Recently, it was recognized that T cells utilize metabolic transporters and metabolic sensors that allow them to rapidly respond to nutrient-limiting inflammatory environments. Metabolic sensors allow T cells to find a balance between energy consumption (anabolic metabolism) and production (catabolic metabolism) in order to mount effective immune responses. Also, metabolic regulators interact with cytokine-dependent transcriptional regulators, suggesting a more integrative and advanced model of T cell activation and differentiation. In this review, we will discuss recent discoveries regarding the roles of metabolic regulators in effector and memory T cell development and their interaction with canonical transcription factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-506
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Aerobic glycolysis
  • Anabolic metabolism
  • Catabolic metabolism
  • Differentiation
  • Effector and memory T cells
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Proliferation
  • TCA cycle
  • Treg

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology


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