Cytotoxic T lymphocytes are effector CD8+ T cells that eradicate infected and malignant cells. Here we show that the transcription factor NFATc1 controls the cytotoxicity of mouse cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Activation of Nfatc1 -/- cytotoxic T lymphocytes showed a defective cytoskeleton organization and recruitment of cytosolic organelles to immunological synapses. These cells have reduced cytotoxicity against tumor cells, and mice with NFATc1-deficient T cells are defective in controlling Listeria infection. Transcriptome analysis shows diminished RNA levels of numerous genes in Nfatc1 -/- CD8+ T cells, including Tbx21, Gzmb and genes encoding cytokines and chemokines, and genes controlling glycolysis. Nfatc1 -/-, but not Nfatc2 -/- CD8+ T cells have an impaired metabolic switch to glycolysis, which can be restored by IL-2. Genome-wide ChIP-seq shows that NFATc1 binds many genes that control cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity. Together these data indicate that NFATc1 is an important regulator of cytotoxic T lymphocyte effector functions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)