All organisms can respond to the availability of nutrients by regulating their metabolism, growth, and cell division. Central to the regulation of growth in response to nutrient availability is the target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling that is composed of two structurally distinct complexes: TOR complex 1 (TORC1) and TOR complex 2 (TORC2). The TOR genes were first identified in yeast as target of rapamycin, a natural product of a soil bacterium, which proved beneficial as an immunosuppressive and anticancer drug and is currently being tested for a handful of other pathological conditions including diabetes, neurodegeneration, and age-related diseases. Studies of the TOR pathway unraveled a complex growth-regulating network. TOR regulates nutrient uptake, transcription, protein synthesis and degradation, as well as metabolic pathways, in a coordinated manner that ensures that cells grow or cease growth in response to nutrient availability. The identification of specific signals and mechanisms that stimulate TOR signaling is an active and exciting field of research that has already identified nitrogen and amino acids as key regulators of TORC1 activity. The signals, as well as the cellular functions of TORC2, are far less well understood. Additional open questions in the field concern the relationships between TORC1 and TORC2, as well as the links with other nutrient-responsive pathways. Here I review the main features of TORC1 and TORC2, with a particular focus on yeasts as model organisms.
|State||Published - 2016|