Skip to main content »

Trinity College Dublin


Communications Office

Language Switcher

Gaeilge (Baile)

Today's date: October 25, 2014

Cellular Metabolism Arms T cells to Battle Viruses and Tumours

News feed for Trinity College Dublin.

Jan 03, 2013

New research demonstrates that the cellular metabolism of certain immune cells is closely linked to their function, which includes protecting against viral infections and the development of tumours. Results recently published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine reveal the relationship between glucose metabolism in Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and their ability to acquire the tools necessary to migrate and kill virally infected cells or tumour cells. CTL are generated in response to particular cues, which promote the acquisition of a range of cytotoxic tools that are used to kill target cells and provide the ability to migrate to the locations in the body where they are required, i.e. sites of inflammation. While glucose has often been considered simply as a fuel source, this work reveals that the nature of glucose metabolism in CTL is closely linked to key CTL functions. 

“It was previously thought that high levels of glucose metabolism simply served to provide CTL with energy and the raw materials to facilitate cell growth,” explains Dr Finlay, “but it is now clear that in CTL glucose metabolism can dictate the function of these important immune cells”.

Dr David Finlay of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin, working with Prof Doreen Cantrell’s laboratory in the University of Dundee, has established that the activities of two proteins, mTORC1 and HIF1α, are essential to maintain CTL glucose metabolism and normal CTL function. Disruption of mTORC1 or HIF1α dramatically reduces glucose utilisation in CTL while also disrupting the levels of key molecules that are required for normal migration and target cell killing. This work affords new insight into the relationship between cellular metabolism and cellular function in immune cells. 

Inappropriate activation of CTL contributes to the pathology associated with a range of autoimmune diseases including Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dr Finlay and Prof Cantrell’s work reveals the potential for novel therapeutic strategies to disrupt CTL migration and cytotoxic function for the treatment autoimmune conditions.

News

Trinity Centre for Bioengineering Researchers Receive Awards at this year’s Bioengineering in Ireland Conference

Feb 01, 2013

Trinity College Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences Moves to a new Research Home

Jan 31, 2013

Provost Thanks the Emer Casey Foundation for Support for Ovarian Cancer Research in Trinity

Jan 30, 2013

CRANN Secures Leading Role in €1 Billion Graphene Research Project

Jan 28, 2013

Trinity Scientist Wins Prestigious ERC Award to Research Glaucoma Prevention

Jan 24, 2013

Globalisation Expert Saskia Sassen of Columbia University Kicks off TCD-UCD Sociology Public Lecture Series

Jan 22, 2013

World Bank Vice President for Africa Speaks at Trinity

Jan 21, 2013

School of Nursing and Midwifery Hosts Mental Health Conference that Highlights Importance of Mutual Help and Community in People’s Recovery from ‘Serious Mental Illness’

Jan 18, 2013

Trinity Researchers Awarded President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA)

Jan 17, 2013

Irish Rugby Legends Raise €52,000 for Cancer Research at TCD

Jan 03, 2013

Back to full news listing.

Back to top.

| sharon.campbell@tcd.ie | Last updated: January 3, 2013