Patients with the neurological disorder HSAN-I suffer frequent infections, attributed to a lack of pain sensation and failure to seek care for minor injuries. Whether protective CD8+ T cells are affected in HSAN-I patients remains unknown. Here, we report that HSAN-I-associated mutations in serine palmitoyltransferase subunit SPTLC2 dampened human T cell responses. Antigen stimulation and inflammation induced SPTLC2 expression, and murine T-cell-specific ablation of Sptlc2 impaired antiviral-T-cell expansion and effector function. Sptlc2 deficiency reduced sphingolipid biosynthetic flux and led to prolonged activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and CD8+ T cell death. Protective CD8+ T cell responses in HSAN-I patient PBMCs and Sptlc2-deficient mice were restored by supplementing with sphingolipids and pharmacologically inhibiting ER stress-induced cell death. Therefore, SPTLC2 underpins protective immunity by translating extracellular stimuli into intracellular anabolic signals and antagonizes ER stress to promote T cell metabolic fitness.
Keywords: CD8+ T cells; ER stress; HSAN-I; SPTLC2; neurological diseases.
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