PerspectiveCell Biology

GATORs Take a Bite Out of mTOR

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Science  31 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6136, pp. 1056-1057
DOI: 10.1126/science.1240315

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Summary

Coupling nutrient availability to cellular growth is essential for all organisms. Across eukaryotes, the serine-threonine kinase called target of rapamycin (TOR; or mTOR in mammals) is a master regulator of cell growth. It is the catalytic subunit of two molecular complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. The mTORC1 complex is acutely sensitive to concentrations of both growth factors and nutrients, including glucose and amino acids (1). The mTORC1 signaling pathway in cells is hyperactivated in a broad spectrum of human cancers and in metabolic disease (2). On page 1100 in this issue, Bar-Peled et al. (3) identify a protein complex that negatively regulates mTORC1 and functions as a tumor suppressor, pointing to new possible therapeutic strategies for cancer.