The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) senses and incorporates different environmental cues via the two signaling complexes mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTORC2. As a result, mTOR controls cell growth and survival, and also shapes different effector functions of the cells including immune cells such as T cells. We demonstrate in this article that invariant NKT (iNKT) cell development is controlled by mTORC2 in a cell-intrinsic manner. In mice deficient in mTORC2 signaling because of the conditional deletion of the Rictor gene, iNKT cell numbers were reduced in the thymus and periphery. This is caused by decreased proliferation of stage 1 iNKT cells and poor development through subsequent stages. Functionally, iNKT cells devoid of mTORC2 signaling showed reduced number of IL-4-expressing cells, which correlated with a decrease in the transcription factor GATA-3-expressing cells. However, promyelocytic leukemia zinc-finger (PLZF), a critical transcription factor for iNKT cell development, is expressed at a similar level in mTORC2-deficient iNKT cells compared with that in the wild type iNKT cells. Furthermore, cellular localization of PLZF was not altered in the absence of mTOR2 signaling. Thus, our study reveals the PLZF-independent mechanisms of the development and function of iNKT cells regulated by mTORC2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy