mTOR is a key protein involved in metabolic diseases. Researchers from the University of Basel have now demonstrated that aberrant mTOR signalling in the liver affects the whole body physiology. An according study was presented in "PNAS".
In their study, the researchers were able to prove that activation of mTORC1 in the liver of mice not only reduces the hepatic lipid metabolism but also the animals' body temperature and locomotor activity. Upon analysing the molecular mechanism, they found that mTORC1 hyperactivation results in depletion of the amino acid glutamine, which increases the level of the stress hormone FGF21. Treatment with glutamine reduced the level of FGF21 and prevented the physiological impairments.
"We were excited to see that in human liver tumours mTORC1 signalling correlates with FGF21 expression", commented lead author Marion Cornu. Currently, mTORC1 inhibitors such as rapamycin are used as immunosuppressive agents and anti-cancer drugs. The results of this study suggest that treatment of glutamine-addicted tumours with rapamycin can block tumour growth and counteract deregulation of the metabolism.
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