Critical role of T-loop and H-motif phosphorylation in the regulation of S6 kinase 1 by the tuberous sclerosis complex

J Biol Chem. 2004 May 14;279(20):20816-23. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M400957200. Epub 2004 Mar 1.


The tuberous sclerosis gene products Tsc1 and Tsc2 behave as tumor suppressors by restricting cell growth, a function conserved among metazoans. Recent evidence has indicated that hyperactivation of S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) may represent an important biochemical change in the development of tuberous sclerosis-associated lesions. We show here that deletion of either Tsc1 or Tsc2 or expression of the Rheb (Ras homolog enriched in brain) GTPase leads to hyperphosphorylation of S6K1 at a subset of regulatory sites, particularly those of two essential residues functionally conserved among AGC superfamily serine/threonine kinases, i.e. the activation loop (T-loop; Thr-229) and the hydrophobic motif (H-motif; Thr-389). These sites are reciprocally and dose-dependently regulated when S6K1 is coexpressed with the Tsc1-Tsc2 complex. Mutations that render S6K1 mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin)-resistant also protect S6K1 activity and phosphorylation from down-regulation by Tsc1/2. We demonstrate that two disease-associated mutations in Tsc2 fail to negatively regulate S6K1 activity concomitant with a failure to modify T-loop and H-motif phosphorylation. Finally, we identify one pathological Tsc2 mutation that retains its ability to negatively regulate S6K1, suggesting that, in some cases, tuberous sclerosis may develop independently of S6K1 hyperactivation. These results also highlight the importance of dual control of T-loop and H-motif phosphorylation of S6K1 by the Tsc1-Tsc2 complex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Androstadienes / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chemokine CCL26
  • Chemokines, CC / genetics
  • Chemokines, CC / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Phosphorylation
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / genetics
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / metabolism*
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Transfection
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / genetics
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Wortmannin


  • Androstadienes
  • CCL26 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL26
  • Chemokines, CC
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Insulin
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Repressor Proteins
  • TSC2 protein, human
  • Tsc2 protein, mouse
  • Tsc2 protein, rat
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases
  • Sirolimus
  • Wortmannin