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The Metabolic Profile of Tumor and Virally Infected Cells Shapes Their Microenvironment Counteracting T Cell Immunity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Isabelle Magalhaes, Ohad Yogev, Jonas Mattsson, Anna Schurich

Original languageEnglish
Article number2309
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2019

King's Authors


Upon activation naïve T cells undergo metabolic changes to support the differentiation into subsets of effector or regulatory cells, and enable subsequent metabolic adaptations to form memory. Interfering with these metabolic alterations leads to abrogation or reprogramming of T cell differentiation, demonstrating the importance of these pathways in T cell development. It has long been appreciated that the conversion of a healthy cell to a cancerous cell is accompanied by metabolic changes, which support uncontrolled proliferation. Especially in solid tumors these metabolic changes significantly influence the tumor microenvironment (TME) and affect tumor infiltrating immune cells. The TME is often hypoxic and nutrient depleted, additionally tumor cells produce co-inhibitory signals, together suppressing the immune response. Interestingly, viruses can stimulate a metabolism akin to that seen in tumor cells in their host cells and even in neighboring cells (e.g., via transfer of virally modified extracellular vesicles). Thus, viruses create their own niche which favors viral persistence and propagation, while again keeping the immune response at bay. In this review we will focus on the mechanisms employed by tumor cells and viruses influencing T cell metabolic regulation and the impact they have on shaping T cell fate.

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