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European journal of immunology

Rewiring cellular metabolism via the AKT/mTOR pathway contributes to host defence against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in human and murine cells.


PMID 27624090

Abstract

Cells in homeostasis metabolize glucose mainly through the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation, while activated cells switch their basal metabolism to aerobic glycolysis. In this study, we examined whether metabolic reprogramming toward aerobic glycolysis is important for the host response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Through transcriptional and metabolite analysis we show that Mtb induces a switch in host cellular metabolism toward aerobic glycolysis in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The metabolic switch is TLR2 dependent but NOD2 independent, and is mediated in part through activation of the AKT-mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway. We show that pharmacological inhibition of the AKT/mTOR pathway inhibits cellular responses to Mtb both in vitro in human PBMCs, and in vivo in a model of murine tuberculosis. Our findings reveal a novel regulatory layer of host responses to Mtb that will aid understanding of host susceptibility to Mtb, and which may be exploited for host-directed therapy.

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