Fig. 2 | Nature Communications

Fig. 2

From: Competition for nutrients and its role in controlling immune responses

Fig. 2

Illustrating the different metabolic configurations of immune cells. a T cells: Naive T cells (TN) have low metabolic rates fueled by glucose and glutamine. Effector T cell (TE) subsets tend to have elevated levels of both aerobic glycolysis (for metabolising glucose to lactate (Lac)) and OXPHOS (as fueled by glucose (Glc) and glutamine (Gln)). Memory T cells (TM) maintain intracellular fuel stores in the form of glycogen (Glg) and triacylglycerides (TG) fueled by glucose and fatty acid (FA) uptake, and primarily use OXPHOS rather than glycolysis. TM have metabolic plasticity as they can engage multiple opposing metabolic pathways including gluconeogenesis/glycolysis, glycogenesis/glycogenolysis and FA synthesis/FA oxidation. TG stores are generated using imported glycerol (Gl). This metabolic configuration supports two key features of TM cells; long term survival by providing dependable fuel sources within the cell (TG and Glg) and rapid metabolic responses to re-stimulation because the metabolic machinery is already present and in use. Regulatory T cells (TReg) import FA for use in biosynthesis and to generate energy through FA oxidation. b Other immune cells: Natural killer (NK) cells primarily use glucose as a fuel, which supports aerobic glycolysis and drives OXPHOS through the citrate-malate shuttle (CMS) but not the TCA cycle. In M1 macrophages (M1Mφ) the TCA cycle is broken, and glucose is metabolised to lactate and citrate (Cit) (used to make immunoregulatory molecules such as itaconate) while glutamine is metabolised to succinate (Suc) (used to generate mitochondrial ROS). By contrast, M2 macrophages (M2Mφ) maintain an intact TCA and favour oxidative metabolism that is fuelled by the uptake of fatty acids, glutamine and glucose. Neutrophils primarily use glycolysis fuelled by glucose uptake and internal glycogen stores, and have very low OXPHOS

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