The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 63: 521 - 527 (2019)

Vol 63, Issue 8-9-10

Special Issue: The Dictyostelium model system

Integrated actions of mTOR complexes 1 and 2 for growth and development of Dictyostelium

Open Access | Published: 11 December 2019

Pundrik Jaiswal, Amit R. Majithia, Daniel Rosel, Xin-Hua Liao, Taruna Khurana and Alan R. Kimmel*

Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA


Multi-protein complexes mTORC1 and mTORC2 are required for growth and development of eukaryotes. mTORC1 is a nutrient sensor that integrates metabolic signals and energy state to regulate cell growth/proliferation, whereas, mTORC2 primarily regulates developmental processes. Dictyostelium proliferate in rich growth media, but initiate development upon nutrient depletion. Both mTOR complexes play essential roles in Dictyostelium, where growth and developmental cycles independently require, respectively, mTORC1 or mTORC2. Many protein associations and regulatory pathways for mTORC1 and mTORC2 in Dictyostelium have context similarity to mammalian cells and specificity to inhibition by the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin. In Dictyostelium, mTORC1 function is inactivated upon starvation-induced development, but development is directly induced through rapamycin-mediated inhibition of mTORC1 activity, even in the absence of nutrient withdrawal. Pharmacologic inhibition of mTORC1, in the absence of nutrient loss, has allowed the identification of a class of essential up-regulated, developmentally-associated signaling genes and down-regulated, growth genes. We also review functional pathway regulations that integrate mTORC1/mTORC2 activities and emphasize complexity of small GTPase regulation of mTORC2 activity. Finally, epistases experiments have suggested novel upstream pathway cross-talk in Dictyostelium that requires mTORC1 and mTORC2, but for separate and independent downstream functions.


Rapamycin, cAMP, RNA-seq, adenylyl cyclase, kinases

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