The mechanistic target of rapamycin is an essential regulator of T cell metabolism and differentiation. In this study, we demonstrate that serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1), a downstream node of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 signaling, represses memory CD8+ T cell differentiation. During acute infections, murine SGK1-deficient CD8+ T cells adopt an early memory precursor phenotype leading to more long-lived memory T cells. Thus, SGK1-deficient CD8+ T cells demonstrate an enhanced recall capacity in response to reinfection and can readily reject tumors. Mechanistically, activation of SGK1-deficient CD8+ T cells results in decreased Foxo1 phosphorylation and increased nuclear translocation of Foxo1 to promote early memory development. Overall, SGK1 might prove to be a powerful target for enhancing the efficacy of vaccines and tumor immunotherapy.

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