Glycolysis is linked to the rapid response of memory CD8+ T cells, but the molecular and subcellular structural elements enabling enhanced glucose metabolism in nascent activated memory CD8+ T cells are unknown. We found that rapid activation of protein kinase B (PKB or AKT) by mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) led to inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) at mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum (ER) junctions. This enabled recruitment of hexokinase I (HK-I) to the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) on mitochondria. Binding of HK-I to VDAC promoted respiration by facilitating metabolite flux into mitochondria. Glucose tracing pinpointed pyruvate oxidation in mitochondria, which was the metabolic requirement for rapid generation of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in memory T cells. Subcellular organization of mTORC2-AKT-GSK3β at mitochondria-ER contact sites, promoting HK-I recruitment to VDAC, thus underpins the metabolic reprogramming needed for memory CD8+ T cells to rapidly acquire effector function.
Keywords: Akt; GSK3-beta; IFN-gamma; VDAC; endoplasmic reticulum; glycolysis; hexokinase; mTOR; memory CD8(+) T cells; mitochondria.
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