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PLoS One. 2010 Feb 16;5(2):e9239. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009239.

Carboxy terminal tail of polycystin-1 regulates localization of TSC2 to repress mTOR.

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  • 1Department of Carcinogenesis, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas, United States of America.


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is a commonly inherited renal disorder caused by defects in the PKD1 or PKD2 genes. ADPKD is associated with significant morbidity, and is a major underlying cause of end-stage renal failure (ESRF). Commonly, treatment options are limited to the management of hypertension, cardiovascular risk factors, dialysis, and transplantation when ESRF develops, although several new pharmacotherapies, including rapamycin, have shown early promise in animal and human studies. Evidence implicates polycystin-1 (PC-1), the gene product of the PKD1 gene, in regulation of the mTOR pathway. Here we demonstrate a mechanism by which the intracellular, carboxy-terminal tail of polycystin-1 (CP1) regulates mTOR signaling by altering the subcellular localization of the tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2) tumor suppressor, a gatekeeper for mTOR activity. Phosphorylation of TSC2 at S939 by AKT causes partitioning of TSC2 away from the membrane, its GAP target Rheb, and its activating partner TSC1 to the cytosol via 14-3-3 protein binding. We found that TSC2 and a C-terminal polycystin-1 peptide (CP1) directly interact and that a membrane-tethered CP1 protects TSC2 from AKT phosphorylation at S939, retaining TSC2 at the membrane to inhibit the mTOR pathway. CP1 decreased binding of 14-3-3 proteins to TSC2 and increased the interaction between TSC2 and its activating partner TSC1. Interestingly, while membrane tethering of CP1 was required to activate TSC2 and repress mTOR, the ability of CP1 to inhibit mTOR signaling did not require primary cilia and was independent of AMPK activation. These data identify a unique mechanism for modulation of TSC2 repression of mTOR signaling via membrane retention of this tumor suppressor, and identify PC-1 as a regulator of this downstream component of the PI3K signaling cascade.

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