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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47258. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047258. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Mechanical stimulation induces mTOR signaling via an ERK-independent mechanism: implications for a direct activation of mTOR by phosphatidic acid.

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  • 1Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

Abstract

Signaling by mTOR is a well-recognized component of the pathway through which mechanical signals regulate protein synthesis and muscle mass. However, the mechanisms involved in the mechanical regulation of mTOR signaling have not been defined. Nevertheless, recent studies suggest that a mechanically-induced increase in phosphatidic acid (PA) may be involved. There is also evidence which suggests that mechanical stimuli, and PA, utilize ERK to induce mTOR signaling. Hence, we reasoned that a mechanically-induced increase in PA might promote mTOR signaling via an ERK-dependent mechanism. To test this, we subjected mouse skeletal muscles to mechanical stimulation in the presence or absence of a MEK/ERK inhibitor, and then measured several commonly used markers of mTOR signaling. Transgenic mice expressing a rapamycin-resistant mutant of mTOR were also used to confirm the validity of these markers. The results demonstrated that mechanically-induced increases in p70(s6k) T389 and 4E-BP1 S64 phosphorylation, and unexpectedly, a loss in total 4E-BP1, were fully mTOR-dependent signaling events. Furthermore, we determined that mechanical stimulation induced these mTOR-dependent events, and protein synthesis, through an ERK-independent mechanism. Similar to mechanical stimulation, exogenous PA also induced mTOR-dependent signaling via an ERK-independent mechanism. Moreover, PA was able to directly activate mTOR signaling in vitro. Combined, these results demonstrate that mechanical stimulation induces mTOR signaling, and protein synthesis, via an ERK-independent mechanism that potentially involves a direct interaction of PA with mTOR. Furthermore, it appears that a decrease in total 4E-BP1 may be part of the mTOR-dependent mechanism through which mechanical stimuli activate protein synthesis.

PMID:
23077579
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3471816
Free PMC Article

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