LIH researchers report the current knowledge on immune-metabolism in two prestigious reviews

2018 - 04 - 05

The Experimental and Molecular Immunology research group at LIH’s Department of Infection and Immunity recently issued two review articles in the acclaimed journals Trends in Cancer and Trends in Immunology of Cell Press. Both reviews - summarising the current knowledge on immune cell signalling and metabolism - are first-authored by PhD candidate Davide Franchina, with group leader and FNR ATTRACT fellow Prof Dirk Brenner acting as corresponding author.

The review “B-cell Metabolic Remodelling and Cancer” in Trends in Cancer gives insights into the metabolic changes that B cells undergo when transiting from a resting to an activated state and when differentiating to plasma cells or memory B cells. An imbalance in these tightly regulated processes can lead to the formation of malignant cells and thus to cancer. The authors explain the role of major regulators of transcription and metabolism in B cells. They point to key questions to be addressed in the recently emerged research field of immune-metabolism and to possible anti-cancer strategies targeting B cell metabolism.

In the review “Reactive Oxygen Species: Involvement in T Cell Signalling and Metabolism”, the authors provide a detailed overview on intracellular signalling in T cells mediated by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). They emphasise that ROS is not only associated with stress responses and cell damage, but was found to also play an important role in fine-tuning T cells functions. The presence of ROS is tightly regulated by antioxidants and can impact on protein function by modulating their redox status. Open questions on ROS production and the mechanisms by which they contribute to T cell activation and metabolic reprograming are highlighted in the review.

It was great for us being asked to contribute two articles for these prestigious journals in parallel’, says Prof Dirk Brenner. ‘This shows the international recognition of our group in the very competitive and hot field of immuno-metabolism. We defined the scope of both articles and allocated the work of which Davide took major parts.’ PhD candidate Davide Franchina is listed as the first author of both reviews. ‘I am proud that I already got the possibility to contribute to the writing of reviews in the first year of my PhD’, states Davide. ‘This allowed me to acquire a profound knowledge on the current state of the art in our research field for myself and to transmit it to a large readership.’

The doctoral candidate is funded by a RIKEN AFR bilateral grant from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). His PhD project is associated with the NextImmune doctoral research and training programme coordinated by LIH’s Department of Infection and Immunity and supported by the FNR PRIDE funding scheme. Thanks to his potential and enthusiasm, Davide was recently selected to take part in the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in June 2018 at which 43 Nobel Laureates will share their passion for research. Davide received specific funding from the FNR to cover the meeting and travel costs.