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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2005 Feb;16(1):29-37. Epub 2004 Dec 31.

mTOR, translational control and human disease.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Many human diseases occur when the precise regulation of cell growth (cell mass/size) and proliferation (rates of cell division) is compromised. This review highlights those human disorders that occur as a result of inappropriate cellular signal transduction through the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a major pathway that coordinates proper cell growth and proliferation by regulating ribosomal biogenesis and protein translation. Recent studies reveal that the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)-1/2, PTEN, and LKB1 tumor suppressor proteins tightly control mTOR. Loss of these tumor suppressors leads to an array of hamartoma syndromes as a result of heightened mTOR signaling. Since mTOR plays a pivotal role in maintaining proper cell size and growth, dysregulation of mTOR signaling results in these benign tumor syndromes and an array of other human disorders.

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