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The tryptophan metabolite kynurenine has critical immunomodulatory properties and can function as an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) ligand. Here we show that the ability of T cells to transport kynurenine is restricted to cells activated by the T cell antigen receptor or pro-inflammatory cytokines. Kynurenine is transported across the T cell membrane by the System L transporter SLC7A5. Accordingly, the ability of kynurenine to activate AHR is restricted to T cells that express SLC7A5. We use the fluorescence spectral properties of kynurenine to develop a flow cytometry based assay for rapid, sensitive and quantitative measurement of the kynurenine transport capacity in a single cell. Our findings provide a method to assess the susceptibility of T cells to kynurenine, and a sensitive single cell assay to monitor system L amino acid transport.
|Article number||1981 (2018)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 17 May 2018|
- Cell biology
- Flow cytometry
- T cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
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- 1 Active
- Cell Signalling and Immunology - Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow of Immunology