mTOR: Single Therapeutic Target for Multiple Diseases

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 14:59

Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a serine/threonine protein kinase and has been known to play its role in cell growth and proliferation. mTOR is activated by phosphorylationin response to growth factors, mitogens and hormones. Rapamycin is a macrolide antibiotic from Streptomyces hygroscopicus that specifically inhibit the activity of mTOR. The function and regulatory pathway of mTOR has been extensively investigated and is gaining more broad attention in several human diseases, including cancer, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and neurodegeneration(1).
IHC analysis of mTOR in human brain tissue.

Activation of mTOR prevents apoptosis and promotes cell survival in many cell systems, showing that specific inhibition of mTOR induces apoptosis in a variety of cancer, endothelial progenitor and endothelial cells. Since inhibition of mTOR increases the vulnerability of tumor cells to apoptosis inhibitors of mTOR have been extensively tested as a chemotherapeutic agents for cancers (2). mTOR phosphorylates its two major downstream targets, p70S6K and 4EBP1 to promote cell growth, cell proliferation and cell survival. The implication of mTOR signaling pathway in both physiological and pathological process is currently being extensively investigated with great enthusiasm.

  1. PMID: 17596519
  2. PMID: 19047305

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