Mitochondrial arginase-2 is a cell‑autonomous regulator of CD8+ T cell function and antitumor efficacy.

Martí i Líndez, Adrià-Arnau; Dunand-Sauthier, Isabelle; Conti, Mark; Gobet, Florian; Núñez, Nicolás; Hannich, J Thomas; Riezman, Howard; Geiger, Roger; Piersigilli, Alessandra; Hahn, Kerstin; Lemeille, Sylvain; Becher, Burkhard; De Smedt, Thibaut; Hugues, Stéphanie; Reith, Walter (2019). Mitochondrial arginase-2 is a cell‑autonomous regulator of CD8+ T cell function and antitumor efficacy. JCI insight, 4(24) JCI Insight 10.1172/jci.insight.132975

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As sufficient extracellular arginine is crucial for T cell function, depletion of extracellular arginine by elevated arginase 1 (Arg1) activity has emerged as a hallmark immunosuppressive mechanism. However, the potential cell-autonomous roles of arginases in T cells have remained unexplored. Here, we show that the arginase isoform expressed by T cells, the mitochondrial Arg2, is a cell-intrinsic regulator of CD8+ T cell activity. Both germline Arg2 deletion and adoptive transfer of Arg2-/- CD8+ T cells significantly reduced tumor growth in preclinical cancer models by enhancing CD8+ T cell activation, effector function, and persistence. Transcriptomic, proteomic, and high-dimensional flow cytometry characterization revealed a CD8+ T cell-intrinsic role of Arg2 in modulating T cell activation, antitumor cytoxicity, and memory formation, independently of extracellular arginine availability. Furthermore, specific deletion of Arg2 in CD8+ T cells strongly synergized with PD-1 blockade for the control of tumor growth and animal survival. These observations, coupled with the finding that pharmacologic arginase inhibition accelerates activation of ex vivo human T cells, unveil Arg2 as a potentially new therapeutic target for T cell-based cancer immunotherapies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Animal Pathology

UniBE Contributor:

Piersigilli, Alessandra and Hahn, Kerstin Caroline


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




JCI Insight




Achim Braun Parham

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2020 14:57

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2020 14:57

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Amino acid metabolism Cancer immunotherapy Immunology Mitochondria Oncology




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