Autophagy plays a critical role in the maintenance of immunological memory. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in autophagy-regulated effector memory formation in CD8+ T cells remain unclear. Here we show that deficiency in NIX-dependent mitophagy leads to metabolic defects in effector memory T cells. Deletion of NIX caused HIF1α accumulation and altered cellular metabolism from long-chain fatty acid to short/branched-chain fatty acid oxidation, thereby compromising ATP synthesis during effector memory formation. Preventing HIF1α accumulation restored long-chain fatty acid metabolism and effector memory formation in antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Our study suggests that NIX-mediated mitophagy is critical for effector memory formation in T cells.
- CD8 T cells
- effector memory cells
- fatty acid metabolism
- long-chain fatty acid oxidation
- mitochondrial superoxide
- short/branched-chain fatty acid oxidation