Naturforschende Gesellschaft in Basel
Seit 1817 im Dienste von Natur & Wissenschaft

mTOR signaling and the control of cell size

TOR (target of rapamycin) is a highly conserved serine/threonine kinase that controls cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrients, growth factors, and cellular energy. TOR was originally discovered in yeast but is conserved in all eukaryotes including plants, worms, flies, and mammals. TOR is found in two structurally and functionally distinct multiprotein complexes termed TORC1 and TORC2. The two TOR complexes, like TOR itself, are highly conserved. Thus, the two TOR complexes constitute an ancestral signaling network conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution to control the fundamental process of cell growth. As a central controller of cell growth, TOR plays a key role in development and aging, and is implicated in disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. While the role of TOR in controlling growth of single cells is relatively well understood, the challenge now is to understand the role of TOR signaling in disease and in coordinating and integrating overall body growth and metabolism in multicellular organisms. This will require elucidating the role of TOR signaling in individual tissues. After a general introduction on TOR signaling, data on the role of mammalian TOR (mTOR) in controlling cellular processes and in specific tissues will be presented.