Metabolic Regulation of Thymic Epithelial Cell Function

Manpreet K. Semwal, Nicholas E. Jones, Ann V. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The thymus is the primary site of T lymphocyte development, where mutually inductive signaling between lymphoid progenitors and thymic stromal cells directs the progenitors along a well-characterized program of differentiation. Although thymic stromal cells, including thymic epithelial cells (TECs) are critical for the development of T cell-mediated immunity, many aspects of their basic biology have been difficult to resolve because they represent a small fraction of thymus cellularity, and because their isolation requires enzymatic digestion that induces broad physiological changes. These obstacles are especially relevant to the study of metabolic regulation of cell function, since isolation procedures necessarily disrupt metabolic homeostasis. In contrast to the well-characterized relationships between metabolism and intracellular signaling in T cell function during an immune response, metabolic regulation of thymic stromal cell function represents an emerging area of study. Here, we review recent advances in three distinct, but interconnected areas: regulation of mTOR signaling, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and autophagy, with respect to their roles in the establishment and maintenance of the thymic stromal microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number636072
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 3 2021

Keywords

  • autophagy
  • mTOR
  • thymic stromal cells
  • thymus
  • tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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