Differential regulation of mTORC1 by leucine and glutamine

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Science  09 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6218, pp. 194-198
DOI: 10.1126/science.1259472

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Getting specific about amino acid sensing

The protein kinase complex mTORC1 regulates growth and metabolism, and its activity is controlled in response to the abundance of cellular amino acids. Jewell et al. report that control of mTORC1 in response to glutamine does not require the Rag guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) implicated in the sensing of other amino acids such as leucine (see the Perspective by Abraham). For sensing of glutamine, another GTPase, Arf1, was required. Distinct mechanisms thus appear to couple various amino acids to signaling by the mTORC1 complex.

Science, this issue p. 194; see also p. 128


The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) integrates environmental and intracellular signals to regulate cell growth. Amino acids stimulate mTORC1 activation at the lysosome in a manner thought to be dependent on the Rag small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases), the Ragulator complex, and the vacuolar H+–adenosine triphosphatase (v-ATPase). We report that leucine and glutamine stimulate mTORC1 by Rag GTPase-dependent and -independent mechanisms, respectively. Glutamine promoted mTORC1 translocation to the lysosome in RagA and RagB knockout cells and required the v-ATPase but not the Ragulator. Furthermore, we identified the adenosine diphosphate ribosylation factor–1 GTPase to be required for mTORC1 activation and lysosomal localization by glutamine. Our results uncover a signaling cascade to mTORC1 activation independent of the Rag GTPases and suggest that mTORC1 is differentially regulated by specific amino acids.

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