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How Does Metabolism Influence the Function of Different T Cell Types?

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Pearce,  Erika Laine
Department Immunometabolism, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Max Planck Society;

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Abstract
T cells are an important component of the body’s immune system. As ERIKA PEARCE explains, there are several types of T cells which form consecutively during the immune response and serve different purposes. Effector T cells combat pathogens from infections or tumors while memory T cells provide protective immunity to prevent re-infection or reoccurring cancer. The research presented in this video investigates how the metabolism of the T cells influences the development of effector and memory T cells by blending in vitro and in vivo approaches. The findings show that the morphology of the mitochondria determines the ability of different types of T cells to perform their functions. Furthermore, the researchers were able to modify the mitochondria in a way that the resulting T cells would provide a better immunity against cancer. These insights open up new possibilities to alter immune cell function and thus might lead to improved immunotherapy.