The protein mTOR is a central controller of growth and metabolism.
Deregulation of mTOR signaling increases the risk of developing metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer. In the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel describe how aberrant mTOR signaling in the liver not only affects hepatic metabolism but also whole body physiology.
Activated mTORC1 signaling (top) correlates with increased FGF21 expression (below) in human liver tumor.
University of Basel, Biozentrum
The protein mTOR regulates cell growth and metabolism and thus plays a key role in the development of human disorders. In the cell, this regulatory protein is found in two structurally and functionally distinct protein complexes called mTORC1 and mTORC2. In a recent study, the research group of Prof. Michael Hall from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has shed light on the role of hepatic mTORC1 in whole body physiology and the relevance for human liver cancers.
Hepatic mTORC1 controls whole body physiology
In mammals, the liver is a key organ that controls whole body physiology in response to nutrients. Hall’s team investigated the role of the nutrient sensor mTORC1 in this process. The researchers were able to show that activation of mTORC1 in the liver of mice reduces not only hepatic lipid metabolism but also locomotor activity and body temperature.
Upon investigating the underlying molecular mechanism, they observed that mTORC1 hyperactivation enhances the level of the stress hormone FGF21 by depletion of the amino acid glutamine. Treatment of animals with glutamine reduced the level of FGF21 and thus prevented the physiological impairments.
Cancer treatment with mTORC1 inhibitors
Human cancers often exhibit aberrant mTORC1 signaling and glutamine addiction. “We were excited to see that in human liver tumors mTORC1 signaling correlates with FGF21 expression”, comments cell biologist Dr. Marion Cornu and first author of the study.
Moreover, mTORC1 inhibitors such as rapamycin are currently used as immunosuppressive agents and anti-cancer drugs. Thus, the novel findings of Hall’s team provide evidence that treatment of glutamine addicted human cancers with rapamycin might have beneficial effects by blocking tumor growth and by preventing deregulation of whole body physiology.
Marion Cornu, Wolfgang Oppliger, Verena Albert, Aaron M. Robitaille, Francesca Trapani, Luca Quagliata, Tobias Fuhrer, Uwe Sauer, Luigi Terracciano, Michael N. Hall
Hepatic mTORC1 controls locomotor activity, body temperature, and lipid metabolism through FGF21
PNAS; published online 31 July 2014 | doi: 10.1073/pnas.1412047111
Prof. Michael N. Hall, University of Basel, Biozentrum, phone: +41 61 267 21 50, email: email@example.com
Olivia Poisson | Universität Basel
Fish fins can sense touch
11.02.2016 | University of Chicago Medical Center
Production of an AIDS vaccine in algae
11.02.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
11.02.2016 | Life Sciences
11.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
11.02.2016 | Earth Sciences