A comprehensive characterization of the impact of mycophenolic acid on the metabolism of Jurkat T cells

Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 5;7(1):10550. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10338-6.


Metabolic reprogramming is critical for T cell fate and polarization and is regulated by metabolic checkpoints, including Myc, HIF-1α, AMPK and mTORC1. Our objective was to determine the impact of mycophenolic acid (MPA) in comparison with rapamycin (Rapa), an inhibitor of mTORC1, on the metabolism of Jurkat T cells. We identified a drug-specific transcriptome signature consisting of the key enzymes and transporters involved in glycolysis, glutaminolysis or nucleotide synthesis. MPA produced an early and transient drop in the intracellular ATP content related to the inhibition of de novo synthesis of purines, leading to the activation of the energy sensor AMPK. MPA decreases glycolytic flux, consistent with a reduction in glucose uptake, but also in the oxidation of glutamine. Additionally, both drugs reduce aerobic glycolysis. The expression of HIF-1α and Myc, promoting the activation of glycolysis and glutaminolysis, was inhibited by MPA and Rapa. In conclusion, we report that MPA profoundly impacts the cellular metabolism of Jurkat T cells by generating an energetic distress, decreasing the glycolytic and glutaminolytic fluxes and by targeting HIF-1α and Myc. These findings open interesting perspectives for novel combinatorial therapeutic strategies targeting metabolic checkpoints to block the proliferation of T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Mycophenolic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Transcriptome / drug effects*


  • HIF1A protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Glutamine
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Glucose
  • Sirolimus