MTORC1 signaling regulates proinflammatory macrophage function and metabolism

Samuel L. Collins, Min Hee Oh, Im Hong Sun, Yee Chan-Li, Liang Zhao, Jonathan D. Powell, Maureen R. Horton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metabolic programming is integrally linked to immune cell function. Nowhere is this clearer than in the differentiation of macrophages. Proinflammatory M1 macrophages primarily use glycolysis as a rapid energy source but also to generate antimicrobial compounds, whereas alternatively activated M2 macrophages primarily rely on oxidative phosphorylation for the longevity required for proper wound healing. mTOR signaling has been demonstrated to be a key regulator of immune cell metabolism and function. mTORC2 signaling is required for the generation of M2 macrophages, whereas the role of mTORC1 signaling, a key regulator of glycolysis, has been controversial. By using genetic deletion of mTORC1 signaling in C57BL/6 mouse macrophages, we observed enhanced M1 macrophage function in vitro and in vivo. Surprisingly, this enhancement occurred despite a significant defect in M1 macrophage glycolytic metabolism. Mechanistically, enhanced M1 function occurred because of inhibition of the class III histone deacetylases the sirtuins, resulting in enhanced histone acetylation. Our findings provide a counterpoint to the paradigm that enhanced immune cell function must occur in the presence of increased cellular metabolism and identifies a potential, pharmacologic target for the regulation of inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-922
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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