This project provides modeling files associated with the 2016 PLoS One publication "Calcium dynamics of ex vivo long-term cultured CD8+ T cells are regulated by changes in redox metabolism" by Rivet, Kniss-James et al.
T cells reach a state of replicative senescence characterized by a decreased ability to proliferate and respond to foreign antigens. Calcium release associated with TCR engagement is widely used as a surrogate measure of T cell response. Using an ex vivo culture model that partially replicates features of organismal aging, we observe that while the amplitude of Ca2+ signaling does not change with time in culture, older T cells exhibit faster Ca2+ rise and a faster decay. Gene expression analysis of Ca2+ channels and pumps expressed in T cells by RT-qPCR identified overexpression of the plasma membrane CRAC channel subunit ORAI1 and PMCA in older T cells. To test whether overexpression of the plasma membrane Ca2+ channel is sufficient to explain the kinetic information, we adapted a previously published computational model by Maurya and Subramaniam to include additional details on the store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) process to recapitulate Ca2+ dynamics after T cell receptor stimulation. Simulations demonstrated that upregulation of ORAI1 and PMCA channels is not sufficient to explain the observed alterations in Ca2+ signaling. Instead, modeling analysis identified kinetic parameters associated with the IP3R and STIM1 channels as potential causes for alterations in Ca2+ dynamics associated with the long term ex vivo culturing protocol. Due to these proteins having known cysteine residues susceptible to oxidation, we subsequently investigated and observed transcriptional remodeling of metabolic enzymes, a shift to more oxidized redox couples, and post-translational thiol oxidation of STIM1. The model-directed findings from this study highlight changes in the cellular redox environment that may ultimately lead to altered T cell calcium dynamics during immunosenescence or organismal aging.