Nat Immunol 2013 Jun 5;14(6):611-8. Epub 2013 May 5.
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Natural T helper 17 (nTH17) cells are a population of interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing cells that acquire effector function in the thymus during development. Here we demonstrate that the serine/threonine kinase Akt has a critical role in regulating nTH17 cell development. Although Akt and the downstream mTORC1-ARNT-HIFα axis were required for generation of inducible TH17 (iTH17) cells, nTH17 cells developed independently of mTORC1. In contrast, mTORC2 and inhibition of Foxo proteins were critical for development of nTH17 cells. Moreover, distinct isoforms of Akt controlled the generation of TH17 cell subsets, as deletion of Akt2, but not of Akt1, led to defective generation of iTH17 cells. These findings define mechanisms regulating nTH17 cell development and reveal previously unknown roles of Akt and mTOR in shaping subsets of T cells.