Thermal regulation in immunometabolism

Most of the molecular oxygen in each cell is consumed at mitochondria, where electron transport system utilizes molecular oxygen as a final acceptor of electron and generate ATP. Therefore, in the absence of oxygen, each cell changes its intracellular metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to anaerobic glycolysis, which is termed as Pasteur effect. We previously identified that HIF-1α signal actively induces glycolytic reprogramming in macrophages (Nature Commun 2016;7:11635). Besides ATP production, mitochondria also consume molecular oxygen to generate heat. Cellular oxygen consumption is, therefore, tightly linked to both ATP dynamics and temperature homeostasis.
Our internal body temperature is kept within a narrow range. Temperature, however, on the surface of our body is strongly influenced by the ambient air. We recently found that external temperature strikingly affects immune cell function, and are currently investigating the molecular link between temperature and immune cell function, aiming to establish a novel field of “Thermal-Immunology”.