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Review Article

Tryptophan and indole metabolism in immune regulation


Fiore,  Alessandra
Murray, Peter / Immunoregulation, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;


Murray,  Peter J.
Murray, Peter / Immunoregulation, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Fiore, A., & Murray, P. J. (2021). Tryptophan and indole metabolism in immune regulation. Current Opinion in Immunology, 70, 7-14.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-44A9-C
L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that undergoes complex metabolic routes, resulting in production of many types of signaling molecules that fall into two types: retaining the indole ring such as serotonin, melatonin and indolepyruvate or breaking the indole ring to form kynurenine. Kynurenines are the precursor of signaling molecules and are the first step in de novo NAD(+) synthesis. In mammalian cells, the kynurenine pathway is initiated by the rate-limiting enzymes tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) and interferon responsive indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1) and is the major route for tryptophan catabolism. IDO1 regulates immune cell function through the kynurenine pathway but also by depleting tryptophan in microenvironments, and especially in tumors, which led to the development of IDO1 inhibitors for cancer therapy. However, the connections between tryptophan depletion versus product supply remain an ongoing challenge in cellular biochemistry and metabolism. Here, we highlight current knowledge about the physiological and pathological roles of tryptophan signaling network with a focus on the