The rapidly expanding field of immunometabolism focuses on how metabolism controls the function of immune cells. CD4+ T cells are essential for the adaptive immune response leading to the eradication of specific pathogens. However, when T cells are inappropriately over-active, they can drive autoimmunity, allergic disease, and chronic inflammation. The mechanisms by which metabolic changes influence function in CD4+ T cells are not fully understood. The post-translational protein modification, O-GlcNAc (O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine), dynamically cycles on and off of intracellular proteins as cells respond to their environment and flux through metabolic pathways changes. As the rate of O-GlcNAc cycling fluctuates, protein function, stability, and/or localization can be affected. Thus, O-GlcNAc is critically poised at the nexus of cellular metabolism and function. This review highlights the intra- and extracellular metabolic factors that influence CD4+ T cell activation and differentiation and how O-GlcNAc regulates these processes. We also propose areas of future research that may illuminate O-GlcNAc’s role in the plasticity and pathogenicity of CD4+ T cells and uncover new potential therapeutic targets.
Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 6, 2018
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