The metabolite BH4 controls T cell proliferation in autoimmunity and cancer.

Nature 2018 11 7;563(7732):564-568. Epub 2018 Nov 7.

IMBA, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria.

Genetic regulators and environmental stimuli modulate T cell activation in autoimmunity and cancer. The enzyme co-factor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is involved in the production of monoamine neurotransmitters, the generation of nitric oxide, and pain. Here we uncover a link between these processes, identifying a fundamental role for BH4 in T cell biology. We find that genetic inactivation of GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GCH1, the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of BH4) and inhibition of sepiapterin reductase (the terminal enzyme in the synthetic pathway for BH4) severely impair the proliferation of mature mouse and human T cells. BH4 production in activated T cells is linked to alterations in iron metabolism and mitochondrial bioenergetics. In vivo blockade of BH4 synthesis abrogates T-cell-mediated autoimmunity and allergic inflammation, and enhancing BH4 levels through GCH1 overexpression augments responses by CD4- and CD8-expressing T cells, increasing their antitumour activity in vivo. Administration of BH4 to mice markedly reduces tumour growth and expands the population of intratumoral effector T cells. Kynurenine-a tryptophan metabolite that blocks antitumour immunity-inhibits T cell proliferation in a manner that can be rescued by BH4. Finally, we report the development of a potent SPR antagonist for possible clinical use. Our data uncover GCH1, SPR and their downstream metabolite BH4 as critical regulators of T cell biology that can be readily manipulated to either block autoimmunity or enhance anticancer immunity.

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Source
http://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0701-2
Publisher Site
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0701-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6438708PMC
November 2018

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