Systems-based approaches to study immunometabolism

Vinee Purohit, Allon Wagner, Nir Yosef, Vijay K Kuchroo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Technical advances at the interface of biology and computation, such as single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq), reveal new layers of complexity in cellular systems. An emerging area of investigation using the systems biology approach is the study of the metabolism of immune cells. The diverse spectra of immune cell phenotypes, sparsity of immune cell numbers in vivo, limitations in the number of metabolites identified, dynamic nature of cellular metabolism and metabolic fluxes, tissue specificity, and high dependence on the local milieu make investigations in immunometabolism challenging, especially at the single-cell level. In this review, we define the systemic nature of immunometabolism, summarize cell- and system-based approaches, and introduce mathematical modeling approaches for systems interrogation of metabolic changes in immune cells. We close the review by discussing the applications and shortcomings of metabolic modeling techniques. With systems-oriented studies of metabolism expected to become a mainstay of immunological research, an understanding of current approaches toward systems immunometabolism will help investigators make the best use of current resources and push the boundaries of the discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-420
Number of pages12
JournalCellular & molecular immunology
Issue number3
Early online date4 Feb 2022
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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