Cell metabolism refers to the intracellular chemical reactions that convert nutrients and endogenous molecules into energy and biomass. Emerging evidence highlights an intimate interaction between metabolism and immunity. Whereas most of the current studies of immunometabolism have focused on T cells in adaptive immunity, we are just beginning to appreciate that activation of innate immune cells is also metabolically demanding. The evolutionarily conserved mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway integrates various environmental signals to regulate fundamental physiological functions, such as cell growth and proliferation, autophagy, and nutrient sensing and uptake. Although much less investigated, emerging evidence also suggests a role of mTOR signaling in the development and function of dendritic cells (DCs). Here we found that the differentiation and activation of DCs is associated with dynamic regulation of metabolic programs and the mTOR activity. Combining genetic and pharmacological modulation of mTOR activity, we found that mTOR is a crucial regulator of DC development and function. Mechanistically, mTOR signaling impinges upon distinct cell metabolic programs that in turn connect with cell cycle and apoptosis machineries. Our results demonstrate an important role of mTOR in linking cell metabolism and DC development and function.
- Copyright © 2013 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.