Autophagy dictates metabolism and differentiation of inflammatory immune cells.
Riffelmacher T., Richter FC., Simon AK.
The role of macroautophagy/autophagy, a conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, during cellular differentiation has been well studied over the last decade. In particular, evidence for its role during immune cell differentiation is growing. Despite the description of a variety of dramatic immune phenotypes in tissue-specific autophagy knockout models, the underlying mechanisms are still under debate. One of the proposed mechanisms is the impact of autophagy on the altered metabolic states during immune cell differentiation. This concept is strengthened through novel molecular insights into how AMPK and MTOR signaling cascades affect both autophagy and metabolism. In this review, we discuss direct and indirect evidence linking autophagy, metabolic pathways and immune cell differentiation including T, B, and innate lymphocytes as well as in myeloid cells that are direct mediators of inflammation. Herein, we propose a model for autophagy-driven immunometabolism controlling immune cell differentiation.