Short persistence and early exhaustion of T cells are major limits to the efficacy and broad application of immunotherapy. Exhausted T and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells upregulate expression of genes associated with terminated T cell differentiation, aerobic glycolysis and apoptosis. Among cell exhaustion characteristics, impaired mitochondrial function and dynamics are considered hallmarks. Here, we review the mitochondrial characteristics of exhausted T cells and particularly discuss different aspects of mitochondrial metabolism and plasticity. Furthermore, we propose a novel strategy of rewiring mitochondrial metabolism to emancipate T cells from exhaustion and of targeting mitochondrial plasticity to boost CAR-T cell therapy efficacy.
Keywords: CAR-T cell exhaustion; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Single-cell techniques.
© 2022. The Author(s).