Intermediates of metabolism: from bystanders to signalling molecules

Robert Haas, Danilo Cucchi, Joanne Smith, Valentina Pucino, Claire Elizabeth Macdougall, Claudio Mauro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


The integration of biochemistry into immune cell biology has contributed immensely to our understanding of immune cell function and the associated pathologies. So far, most studies have focused on the regulation of metabolic pathways during an immune response and their contribution to its success. More recently, novel signalling functions of metabolic intermediates are being discovered that might play important roles in the regulation of immunity. Here we describe the three long-known small metabolites lactate, acetyl-CoA, and succinate in the context of immunometabolic signalling. Functions of these ubiquitous molecules are largely dependent on their intra- and extracellular concentrations as well as their subcompartmental localisation. Importantly, the signalling functions of these metabolic intermediates extend beyond self-regulatory roles and include cell-to-cell communication and sensing of microenvironmental conditions to elicit stress responses and cellular adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-471
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Biochemical Sciences
Issue number5
Early online date28 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Glycolysis
  • Tricarboxylic acid cycle
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Lactate
  • Succinate


Dive into the research topics of 'Intermediates of metabolism: from bystanders to signalling molecules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this