Natural killer (NK) cell effector functions are dependent on metabolic regulation of cellular function; however, less is known about in vivo metabolic pathways required for NK cell antiviral function. Mice with an inducible NK-specific deletion of Cox10, which encodes a component of electron transport chain complex IV, were generated to investigate the role of oxidative phosphorylation in NK cells during murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. Ncr1-Cox10Δ/Δ mice had normal numbers of NK cells but impaired expansion of antigen-specific Ly49H+ NK cells and impaired NK cell memory formation. Proliferation in vitro and homeostatic expansion were intact, indicating a specific metabolic requirement for antigen-driven proliferation. Cox10-deficient NK cells upregulated glycolysis, associated with increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation, although this was insufficient to protect the host. These data demonstrate that oxidative metabolism is required for NK cell antiviral responses in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109209
JournalCell Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Cox10
  • NK cells
  • metabolism
  • murine cytomegalovirus
  • oxidative phosphorylation
  • proliferation


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