The target of rapamycin, TOR, is an essential ser/thr protein kinase that functions in two distinct multiprotein complexes, TOR complex 1 and 2. The structure and functions of these complexes have been conserved from yeast to man. TOR complex 1 is inhibited by rapamycin and is thought to couple growth cues to cellular metabolism; TOR complex 2 is not inhibited by rapamycin and appears to regulate spatial aspects of growth such as cell polarity. Work done in a variety of model systems, continues to contribute to our current understanding of this TOR signalling network. Recent studies in flies and mammalian tissue culture cells have elucidated many signalling components upstream of TOR complex 1. These studies also suggest that aberrant mammalian TOR complex 1 signalling contributes to a number of pathologies ranging from metabolic diseases to hyperproliferative disorders and cancers. Consequently the efficacies of rapamycin and related compounds in treating such diseases are being evaluated in clinical trials.