Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) are innate counterparts of T helper 2 (Th2) cells that maintain tissue homeostasis and respond to injuries through rapid interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13 secretion. ILC2s depend on availability of arginine and branched-chain amino acids for sustaining cellular fitness, proliferation, and cytokine secretion in both steady state and upon activation. However, the contribution of amino acid transporters to ILC2 functions is not known. Here, we found that ILC2s selectively express Slc7a8, encoding a transporter for arginine and large amino acids. Slc7a8 was expressed in ILC2s in a tissue-specific manner in steady state and was further increased upon activation. Genetic ablation of Slc7a8 in lymphocytes reduced the frequency of ILC2s, suppressed IL-5 and IL-13 production upon stimulation, and impaired type 2 immune responses to helminth infection. Consistent with this, Slc7a8-deficient ILC2s also failed to induce cytokine production and recruit eosinophils in a model of allergic lung inflammation. Mechanistically, reduced amino acid availability due to Slc7a8 deficiency led to compromised mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, as well as impaired activation of mammalian target of rapamycin and c-Myc signaling pathways. These findings identify Slc7a8 as a key supplier of amino acids for the metabolic programs underpinning fitness and activation of ILC2s.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2215528119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 15 2022


  • allergy
  • amino acid
  • asthma
  • innate lymphoid cells
  • transporter


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