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Mol Cell. 2010 Mar 12;37(5):633-42. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.01.031.

PP2A T61 epsilon is an inhibitor of MAP4K3 in nutrient signaling to mTOR.

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Department of Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute, University of Alberta, 11560 University Avenue, AB T6G IZ2, Canada.


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is activated by a variety of stimuli, including nutrients such as glucose and amino acids. The Ste20 family kinase MAP4K3 is regulated by amino acids and acts upstream of mTORC1. Here we investigate how MAP4K3 activity is regulated by amino acid sufficiency. We identify a transautophosphorylation site in the MAP4K3 kinase activation segment (Ser170) that is required for MAP4K3 activity and its activation of mTORC1 signaling. Following amino acid withdrawal, Ser170 is dephosphorylated via PP2A complexed to PR61 epsilon, a PP2A-targeting subunit. Inhibition of PR61 epsilon expression prevents MAP4K3 Ser170 dephosphorylation and impairs mTORC1 inhibition during amino acid withdrawal. We propose that during amino acid sufficiency Ser170-phosphorylated MAP4K3 activates mTORC1, but that upon amino acid restriction MAP4K3 preferentially interacts with PP2A(T61 epsilon), promoting dephosphorylation of Ser170, MAP4K3 inhibition, and, subsequently, inhibition of mTORC1 signaling.

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