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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Nov 7;114(45):11818-11825. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1716173114. Epub 2017 Oct 25.

Twenty-five years of mTOR: Uncovering the link from nutrients to growth.

Sabatini DM1,2,3,4,5.

Author information

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142;
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139.
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142.
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142.
Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142.


In my PNAS Inaugural Article, I describe the development of the mTOR field, starting with efforts to understand the mechanism of action of the drug rapamycin, which ∼25 y ago led to the discovery of the mTOR protein kinase. I focus on insights that we have contributed and on work that has been particularly influential to me, as well as provide some personal reflections and stories. We now appreciate that, as part of two distinct complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, mTOR is the major regulator of growth (mass accumulation) in animals and is the key link between the availability of nutrients in the environment and the control of most anabolic and catabolic processes. Nutrients signal to mTORC1 through the lysosome-associated Rag GTPases and their many regulators and associated cytosolic and lysosomal nutrient sensors. mTOR signaling is deregulated in common diseases, like cancer and epilepsy, and mTORC1 is a well-validated modulator of aging in multiple model organisms. There is significant excitement around using mTORC1 inhibitors to treat cancer and neurological disease and, potentially, to improve healthspan and lifespan.


Rag GTPase; growth; mTOR; nutrients; rapamycin

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