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Stimulation of de Novo Pyrimidine Synthesis by Growth Signaling Through mTOR and S6K1

Science  15 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6125, pp. 1323-1328
DOI: 10.1126/science.1228792

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Coordinating Metabolism

Growth factors help to coordinate metabolism with growth in part by stimulating the activity of the protein kinase mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1). Ben-Sahra et al. (p. 1323, published online 21 February) and Robitaille et al. (p. 1320, published online 21 February) independently identified a key target of mTORC1—carbamolyl-phosphate synthase 2, or CAD, the rate-limiting enzyme for de novo synthesis of pyrimidines. Metabolomic profiling and phosphoproteomic analyses of normal cells and cells lacking signaling by mTORC1 converged on CAD as a key point at which growth-promoting signals also ramp up production of nucleic acids.

Abstract

Cellular growth signals stimulate anabolic processes. The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a protein kinase that senses growth signals to regulate anabolic growth and proliferation. Activation of mTORC1 led to the acute stimulation of metabolic flux through the de novo pyrimidine synthesis pathway. mTORC1 signaling posttranslationally regulated this metabolic pathway via its downstream target ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1), which directly phosphorylates S1859 on CAD (carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase 2, aspartate transcarbamoylase, dihydroorotase), the enzyme that catalyzes the first three steps of de novo pyrimidine synthesis. Growth signaling through mTORC1 thus stimulates the production of new nucleotides to accommodate an increase in RNA and DNA synthesis needed for ribosome biogenesis and anabolic growth.

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