MTOR coordinates transcriptional programs and mitochondrial metabolism of activated Treg subsets to protect tissue homeostasis

Nicole M. Chapman, Hu Zeng, Thanh Long M. Nguyen, Yanyan Wang, Peter Vogel, Yogesh Dhungana, Xiaojing Liu, Geoffrey Neale, Jason W. Locasale, Hongbo Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Regulatory T (Treg) cells derived from the thymus (tTreg) and periphery (pTreg) have central and distinct functions in immunosuppression, but mechanisms for the generation and activation of Treg subsets in vivo are unclear. Here, we show that mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) unexpectedly supports the homeostasis and functional activation of tTreg and pTreg cells. mTOR signaling is crucial for programming activated Treg-cell function to protect immune tolerance and tissue homeostasis. Treg-specific deletion of mTOR drives spontaneous effector T-cell activation and inflammation in barrier tissues and is associated with reduction in both thymic-derived effector Treg (eTreg) and pTreg cells. Mechanistically, mTOR functions downstream of antigenic signals to drive IRF4 expression and mitochondrial metabolism, and accordingly, deletion of mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) severely impairs Treg-cell suppressive function and eTreg-cell generation. Collectively, our results show that mTOR coordinates transcriptional and metabolic programs in activated Treg subsets to mediate tissue homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2095
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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