Theses Doctoral

Metabolism regulates cell fate in lymphocytes and progenitor cells

Kratchmarov, Radomir

Self-renewal mediates homeostasis across mammalian organ systems as the cellular components of mature tissues are continually replaced in the face of wear and tear, injury, infection, and malignancy. The hematopoietic and immune systems are crucial for organismal longevity and rely on the ability of progenitor cells to bifurcate in fate to produce mature terminally differentiated progeny while self-renewing to maintain more quiescent progenitors. Asymmetric cell division is associated with self-renewal of lymphocytes and hematopoietic progenitors, but the mechanisms underlying the cell biology of these processes remain incompletely understood. Here we show that metabolic signals in the form of differential anabolism and catabolism regulate asymmetric division and cell fate bifurcations. Key transcription factors, including TCF1 and IRF4 in lymphocytes and IRF8 in hematopoietic progenitors, occupy regulatory nodes where signals associated with metabolism and traditional cell fate determinants converge. Notably, anabolic PI3K/mTOR signaling was required for terminal differentiation of both lymphocytes and hematopoietic progenitors through the regulation of a constellation of nutrient uptake, mitochondrial turnover, reactive oxygen species production, and autophagy. Further, we found that antigen receptor signaling in lymphocytes organizes a cell-intrinsic polarity pathway of asymmetric intracellular membrane trafficking that is regulated by PI3K activity and associated with terminal differentiation. These results support a model wherein cell fate bifurcations are organized by metabolic signaling at the population and subcellular level to ensure self- renewal of progenitor and memory populations.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection
Thesis Advisors
Reiner, Steven L.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 26, 2018