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Cell Cycle. 2011 Jul 15;10(14):2305-16. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

mTOR complex 2 signaling and functions.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA.


The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays a central role in cellular growth and metabolism. mTOR forms two distinct protein complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. Much is known about the regulation and functions of mTORC1 due to availability of a natural compound, rapamycin, that inhibits this complex. Studies that define mTORC2 cellular functions and signaling have lagged behind. The development of pharmacological inhibitors that block mTOR kinase activity, and thereby inhibit both mTOR complexes, along with availability of mice with genetic knockouts in mTOR complex components have now provided new insights on mTORC2 function and regulation. Since prolonged effects of rapamycin can also disrupt mTORC2, it is worth re-evaluating the contribution of this less-studied mTOR complex in cancer, metabolic disorders and aging. In this review, we focus on recent developments on mammalian mTORC2 signaling mechanisms and its cellular and tissue-specific functions.

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