Reactive Oxygen species: Involvement in T cell signaling and metabolism.
- Experimental and Molecular Immunology
T cells are a central component of defenses against pathogens and tumors. Their effector functions are sustained by specific metabolic changes that occur upon activation, and these have been the focus of renewed interest. Energy production inevitably generates unwanted products, namely reactive oxygen species (ROS), which have long been known to trigger cell death. However, there is now evidence that ROS also act as intracellular signaling molecules both in steady-state and upon antigen recognition. The levels and localization of ROS contribute to the redox modeling of effector proteins and transcription factors, influencing the outcome of the T cell response. We discuss here how ROS can directly fine-tune metabolism and effector functions of T cells.