Differential effects of rapamycin on mammalian target of rapamycin signaling functions in mammalian cells.
Rapamycin and its analogues have shown promising anticancer activities in preclinical and clinical studies. However, the mechanism whereby rapamycin inhibits signaling through the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the FKBP12/rapamycin complex is an essentially irreversible inhibitor of mTOR kinase activity in vitro. However, we observe no suppression of mTOR catalytic activity after immunoprecipitation from rapamycin-treated cells. These results suggest either that rapamycin acts as a reversible kinase inhibitor in intact cells or that the cellular effects of rapamycin are not mediated through global suppression in mTOR kinase activity. To better understand the cellular pharmacology of rapamycin, we compared the individual and combined effects of rapamycin and kinase-inactive mTOR expression on a panel of mTOR-dependent cellular responses. These studies identified glycolytic activity, amino acid transporter trafficking, and Akt kinase activity as novel, mTOR-modulated functions in mammalian cells. Whereas kinase-inactive mTOR did not enhance the decreases in cell size and glycolysis induced by rapamycin, expression of this mTOR mutant significantly enhanced the inhibitory effects of rapamycin on cell proliferation, 4EBP1 phosphorylation, and Akt activity. Unexpectedly, amino acid transporter trafficking was perturbed by kinase-inactive mTOR but not by rapamycin, indicating that this process is rapamycin insensitive. These results indicate that rapamycin exerts variable inhibitory actions on mTOR signaling functions and suggest that direct inhibitors of the mTOR kinase domain will display substantially broader anticancer activities than rapamycin.
Edinger, AL; Linardic, CM; Chiang, GG; Thompson, CB; Abraham, RT
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