A complex interplay between Akt, TSC2 and the two mTOR complexes
ABSTRACT Akt/PKB (protein kinase B) both regulates and is regulated by the TSC (tuberous sclerosis complex) 1-TSC2 complex. Downstream of PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase), Akt phosphorylates TSC2 directly on multiple sites. Although the molecular mechanism is not well understood, these phosphorylation events relieve the inhibitory effects of the TSC1-TSC2 complex on Rheb and mTORC1 [mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) complex] 1, thereby activating mTORC1 in response to growth factors. Through negative-feedback mechanisms, mTORC1 activity inhibits growth factor stimulation of PI3K. This is particularly evident in cells and tumours lacking the TSC1-TSC2 complex, where Akt signalling is severely attenuated due, at least in part, to constitutive activation of mTORC1. An additional level of complexity in the relationship between Akt and the TSC1-TSC2 complex has recently been uncovered. The growth-factor-stimulated kinase activity of mTORC2 [also known as the mTOR-rictor (rapamycin-insensitive companion of mTOR) complex], which normally enhances Akt signalling by phosphorylating its hydrophobic motif (Ser(473)), was found to be defective in cells lacking the TSC1-TSC2 complex. This effect on mTORC2 can be separated from the inhibitory effects of the TSC1-TSC2 complex on Rheb and mTORC1. The present review discusses our current understanding of the increasingly complex functional interactions between Akt, the TSC1-TSC2 complex and mTOR, which are fundamentally important players in a large variety of human diseases.
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ABSTRACT: Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a multisystem disease of women, characterized by proliferation of abnormal smooth muscle-like LAM cells, leading to the formation of lung cysts, fluid-filled cystic structures in the axial lymphatics (eg, lymphangioleiomyomas), and renal angiomyolipomas. LAM is caused by mutations of the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, which encode, respectively, hamartin and tuberin, two proteins with a major role in control of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. LAM occurs sporadically or in association with tuberous sclerosis complex, an autosomal-dominant syndrome characterized by widespread hamartomatous lesions. LAM may present with progressive dyspnea, recurrent pneumothorax, or chylothorax. Pulmonary function tests show reduced flow rates (forced expiratory volume in the first second) and diffusion capacity. Exercise testing may reveal gas exchange abnormalities, ventilatory limitation, and hypoxemia. The severity and progression of disease may be assessed by lung histology scores, quantification of computed tomography, pulmonary function testing, 6-minute walk tests, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, and measurement of serum vascular endothelial growth factor D levels. Sirolimus and everolimus, two mTOR inhibitors, are effective in stabilizing lung function and reducing the size of chylous effusions, lymphangioleiomyo-mas, and angiomyolipomas. However, inhibition of mTOR complex 1 increases autophagy, possibly enhancing LAM cell survival. Inhibition of autophagy with hydroxychloroquine, in combination with sirolimus, has been proposed as a possible treatment for LAM. Deficiency of tuberin results in increased RhoA GTPase activity and cell survival, an effect that is mediated through mTOR complex 2 signaling. Because sirolimus and everolimus only affect the activity of mTOR complex 1, therapies targeting RhoA GTPases with simvastatin, which inhibits Rho GTPases and promotes apoptosis, are being investigated. As in the case of cancer, LAM may be best treated with multiple drugs targeting signaling pathways considered important in the pathogenesis of disease.Clinical Epidemiology 01/2015; 7:249. DOI:10.2147/CLEP.S50780
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ABSTRACT: Insulin resistance is an important contributing factor in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. AKT and mTORC1 are key components of the insulin pathway, and play a role in promoting de novo lipogenesis. However, mTORC1 hyperactivity per se does not induce steatosis in mouse livers, but instead, protects against high-fat diet induced steatosis. Here, we investigate the in vivo mechanism of steatosis-resistance secondary to mTORC1 activation, with emphasis on the role of S6K1-mediated feedback inhibition of AKT. Mice with single or double deletion of Tsc1 and/or S6k1 in a liver-specific or whole-body manner were generated to study glucose and hepatic lipid metabolism between the ages of 6-14 weeks. Following 8 weeks of high-fat diet, the Tsc1-/-;S6k1-/- mice had lower body weights but higher liver TG levels compared to that of the Tsc1-/- mice. However, the loss of S6k1 did not relieve feedback inhibition of Akt activity in the Tsc1-/- livers. To overcome Akt suppression, Pten was deleted in Tsc1-/- livers, and the resultant mice showed improved glucose tolerance compared with the Tsc1-/- mice. However, liver TG levels were significantly reduced in the Tsc1-/-;Pten-/- mice compared to the Pten-/- mice, which was restored with rapamycin. We found no correlation between liver TG and serum NEFA levels. Expression of lipogenic genes (Srebp1c, Fasn) were elevated in the Tsc1-/-;Pten-/- livers, but this was counter-balanced by an up-regulation of Cpt1a involved in fatty acid oxidation and the anti-oxidant protein, Nrf2. In summary, our in vivo models showed that mTORC1-induced resistance to steatosis was dependent on S6K1 activity, but not secondary to AKT suppression. These findings confirm that AKT and mTORC1 have opposing effects on hepatic lipid metabolism in vivo.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0117000. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117000 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: PEComas are mesenchymal tumors composed of histologically and immunohistochemically distinctive perivascular epithelioid cells which are characterized by the coexpression of muscle and melanogenesis markers. This group of lesions includes angiomyolipoma, clear-cell “sugar” tumor of the lung and extrapulmonary sites, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, clear-cell myomelanocytic tumor of the falciform ligament/ligamentum teres and rare clear-cell tumors of other anatomical sites. In the genitourinary tract PEComas have been described in the kidney, bladder, prostate, testis and urethra. Although most PEComas behave as benign tumors, some are potentially malignant and criteria for malignancy have been suggested for both and renal and extrarenal lesions. Recently the expression of cathepsin K has been demonstrated in a large number of PEComas and has been proposed as a relatively specific marker to distinguish these proliferations from the majority of human cancers. In addition, a distinctive subset of PEComas harboring TFE3 gene fusions have been reported, giving rise to a possible relationship between them and MiTF/TFE family translocation renal cell carcinomas. The genetic alterations of tuberous sclerosis complex that promote activation of the mTOR pathway have been identified in PEComas. Therapy with mTORC1 inhibitors has been shown to be effective in some cases.Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology 02/2015; 32(2). DOI:10.1053/j.semdp.2015.02.006 · 1.80 Impact Factor