The protein kinase complex mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) serves as a key conduit between growth signals and the metabolic processes underlying cell growth. The activation state of mTORC1 is controlled by intracellular nutrients and energy, as well as exogenous hormones and growth factors, thereby integrating local and systemic growth signals. Here we discuss the molecular logic of the mTORC1 signalling network and its importance in coupling growth signals to the control of cellular metabolism. After activation, mTORC1 promotes the conversion of available nutrients and energy into the major macromolecular species contributing to cellular mass, including proteins, nucleic acids and lipids, while suppressing the autophagic recycling of these macromolecules back into their nutrient constituents. Given that uncoupling of mTORC1 from its normal regulatory inputs contributes to many diseases—including cancer, genetic tumour syndromes, metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases and neurological disorders—understanding the molecular logic of the mTORC1 network and how to modulate it may present therapeutic opportunities for treatment of a broad range of diseases and potentially even for the extension of lifespan.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cell Biology