CAMP inhibits mammalian target of rapamycin complex-1 and -2 (mTORC1 and 2) by promoting complex dissociation and inhibiting mTOR kinase activity

Jianling Xie, Godwin A. Ponuwei, Claire E. Moore, Gary B. Willars, Andrew R. Tee, Terence P. Herbert

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54 Citations (Scopus)


cAMP and mTOR signalling pathways control a number of critical cellular processes including metabolism, protein synthesis, proliferation and cell survival and therefore understanding the signalling events which integrate these two signalling pathways is of particular interest. In this study, we show that the pharmacological elevation of [cAMP] i in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells inhibits mTORC1 activation via a PKA-dependent mechanism. Although the inhibitory effect of cAMP on mTOR could be mediated by impinging on signalling cascades (i.e. PKB, MAPK and AMPK) that inhibit TSC1/2, an upstream negative regulator of mTORC1, we show that cAMP inhibits mTORC1 in TSC2 knockout (TSC2 -/-) MEFs. We also show that cAMP inhibits insulin and amino acid-stimulated mTORC1 activation independently of Rheb, Rag GTPases, TSC2, PKB, MAPK and AMPK, indicating that cAMP may act independently of known regulatory inputs into mTOR. Moreover, we show that the prolonged elevation in [cAMP] i can also inhibit mTORC2. We provide evidence that this cAMP-dependent inhibition of mTORC1/2 is caused by the dissociation of mTORC1 and 2 and a reduction in mTOR catalytic activity, as determined by its auto-phosphorylation on Ser2481. Taken together, these results provide an important insight into how cAMP signals to mTOR and down-regulates its activity, which may lead to the identification of novel drug targets to inhibit mTOR that could be used for the treatment and prevention of human diseases such as cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1927-1935
Number of pages9
JournalCellular Signalling
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • CAMP
  • MTORC1
  • MTORC2
  • PKA
  • TSC2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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