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Elife. 2014 Sep 8;3:e01913. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01913.

A critical role for mTORC1 in erythropoiesis and anemia.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, New York, United States.


Red blood cells (RBC) must coordinate their rate of growth and proliferation with the availability of nutrients, such as iron, but the signaling mechanisms that link the nutritional state to RBC growth are incompletely understood. We performed a screen for cell types that have high levels of signaling through mTORC1, a protein kinase that couples nutrient availability to cell growth. This screen revealed that reticulocytes show high levels of phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6, a downstream target of mTORC1. We found that mTORC1 activity in RBCs is regulated by dietary iron and that genetic activation or inhibition of mTORC1 results in macrocytic or microcytic anemia, respectively. Finally, ATP competitive mTOR inhibitors reduced RBC proliferation and were lethal after treatment with phenylhydrazine, an inducer of hemolysis. These results identify the mTORC1 pathway as a critical regulator of RBC growth and proliferation and establish that perturbations in this pathway result in anemia.


RBC; anemia; cell biology; erythropoiesis; human biology; mTOR; mTORC1; medicine; mouse

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