The asymmetric partitioning of fate-determining proteins has been shown to contribute to the generation of CD8+ effector and memory T cell precursors. Here we demonstrate the asymmetric partitioning of mTORC1 activity after the activation of naive CD8+ T cells. This results in the generation of two daughter T cells, one of which shows increased mTORC1 activity, increased glycolytic activity and increased expression of effector molecules. The other daughter T cell has relatively low mTORC1 activity and increased lipid metabolism, expresses increased amounts of anti-apoptotic molecules and subsequently displays enhanced long-term survival. Mechanistically, we demonstrate a link between T cell antigen receptor (TCR)-induced asymmetric expression of amino acid transporters and RagC-mediated translocation of mTOR to the lysosomes. Overall, our data provide important insight into how mTORC1-mediated metabolic reprogramming affects the fate decisions of T cells.
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