The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has attracted substantial attention because of its involvement in a variety of diseases, such as cancer, cardiac hypertrophy, diabetes and obesity. Current knowledge indicates that mTOR functions as two distinct multiprotein complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTORC1 phosphorylates p70 S6 kinase (S6K1) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), and regulates cell growth, proliferation, and survival by integrating hormones, growth factors, nutrients, stressors and energy signals. In contrast, mTORC2 is insensitive to nutrients or energy conditions. However, in response to hormones or growth factors, mTORC2 phosphorylates Akt, and regulates actin cytoskeleton and cell survival. These findings not only reveal the crucial role of mTOR in physiology and pathology, but also reflect the complexity of the mTOR signaling network. In this review, we discuss the advances in studies of the mTOR complexes, including the interacting proteins, the upstream regulators and the downstream effectors of mTOR complexes, as well as their implication in certain human diseases.
Rapamycin, mTOR, S6K1, 4E-BP1, raptor, rictor, cancer, diabetes
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71130-3932, USA.