Regulation of Immune Responses by mTOR

Regulation of Immune Responses by mTOR

mTOR is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase that plays a central role in integrating environmental cues in the form of growth factors, amino acids, and energy. In the study of the immune system, mTOR is emerging as a critical regulator of immune function because of its role in sensing and integrating cues from the immune microenvironment.

With the greater appreciation of cellular metabolism as an important regulator of immune cell function, mTOR is proving to be a vital link between immune function and metabolism. In this review, we discuss the ability of mTOR to direct the adaptive immune response. Specifically, we focus on the role of mTOR in promoting differentiation, activation, and function in T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells.

* The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is now appreciated to be a central regulator of immune responses. Specifically, mTOR appears to function as a central node in a signaling cascade that directs the integration of diverse environmental inputs in the immune microenvironment.

* In an effort to identify potential new antibiotics, scientists from pharmaceutical companies bring back soil samples for lab tests. One compound identified in this fashion was rapamycin, which was extracted from Streptomyces hygroscopicus found in soil from Easter Island (the local name for the island is Rapa nui) (5). Rapamycin was found to inhibit the growth of yeast as well as to have immunosuppressive and antitumor properties

* mTOR is regulated by environmental cues in the form of nutrients, growth factors, energy, and stress.

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