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PLoS One. 2016 Jun 9;11(6):e0157100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157100. eCollection 2016.

FLCN Maintains the Leucine Level in Lysosome to Stimulate mTORC1.

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Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology, the Ministry of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine, Northwest Agriculture & Forest University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China.


The intracellular amino acid pool within lysosome is a signal that stimulates the nutrient-sensing mTORC1 signalling pathway. The signal transduction cascade has garnered much attention, but little is known about the sequestration of the signalling molecules within the lysosome. Using human HEK293 cells as a model, we found that suppression of the BHD syndrome gene FLCN reduced the leucine level in lysosome, which correlated with decreased mTORC1 activity. Both consequences could be reversed by supplementation with high levels of leucine, but not other tested amino acids. Conversely, overexpressed FLCN could sequester lysosomal leucine and stimulate mTORC1 in an amino acid limitation environment. These results identify a novel function of FLCN: it controls mTORC1 by modulating the leucine signal in lysosome. Furthermore, we provided evidence that FLCN exerted this role by inhibiting the accumulation of the amino acid transporter PAT1 on the lysosome surface, thereby maintaining the signal level within the organelle.

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