Decoding the crosstalk between mevalonate metabolism and T cell function

Immunol Rev. 2023 Aug;317(1):71-94. doi: 10.1111/imr.13200. Epub 2023 Mar 31.


The mevalonate pathway is an essential metabolic pathway in T cells regulating development, proliferation, survival, differentiation, and effector functions. The mevalonate pathway is a complex, branched pathway composed of many enzymes that ultimately generate cholesterol and nonsterol isoprenoids. T cells must tightly control metabolic flux through the branches of the mevalonate pathway to ensure sufficient isoprenoids and cholesterol are available to meet cellular demands. Unbalanced metabolite flux through the sterol or the nonsterol isoprenoid branch is metabolically inefficient and can have deleterious consequences for T cell fate and function. Accordingly, there is tight regulatory control over metabolic flux through the branches of this essential lipid synthetic pathway. In this review we provide an overview of how the branches of the mevalonate pathway are regulated in T cells and discuss our current understanding of the relationship between mevalonate metabolism, cholesterol homeostasis and T cell function.

Keywords: T cells; cholesterol; isoprenoids; mevalonate pathway; statins.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Mevalonic Acid* / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes* / metabolism
  • Terpenes / metabolism


  • Mevalonic Acid
  • Cholesterol
  • Terpenes