Mitochondria are key players in the regulation of T cell biology by dynamically responding to cell needs, but how these dynamics integrate in T cells is still poorly understood. We show here that the mitochondrial pro-fission protein Drp1 fosters migration and expansion of developing thymocytes both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we find that Drp1 sustains in vitro clonal expansion and cMyc-dependent metabolic reprogramming upon activation, also regulating effector T cell numbers in vivo. Migration and extravasation defects are also exhibited in Drp1-deficient mature T cells, unveiling its crucial role in controlling both T cell recirculation in secondary lymphoid organs and accumulation at tumor sites. Moreover, the observed Drp1-dependent imbalance toward a memory-like phenotype favors T cell exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment. All of these findings support a crucial role for Drp1 in several processes during T cell development and in anti-tumor immune-surveillance.
Keywords: Drp1; T cells; cMyc; cell migration; cell proliferation; exhaustion; metabolic reprogramming; mitochondrial dynamics; thymocytes; tumor immune-surveillance.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.