The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a mediator of cell growth, survival, and energy metabolism at least partly through its ability to regulate mRNA translation. mTOR is activated downstream of growth factors, insulin, and Akt-dependent signaling associated with oncoprotein expression or loss of the tumor-suppressor PTEN. In this regard, mTOR activity is associated with cancer cell growth and survival. Here, we have explored an involvement of the I kappa B kinase (IKK) pathway, associated with nuclear factor-kappaB activation, in controlling mTOR activity. The experiments show that IKK alpha controls mTOR kinase activity in Akt-active, PTEN-null prostate cancer cells, with less involvement by IKK beta. In these cells, IKK alpha associates with mTOR, as part of the TORC1 complex, in an Akt-dependent manner. Additionally, IKKalpha is required for efficient induction of mTOR activity downstream of constitutively active Akt expression. The results indicate a novel role for IKK alpha in controlling mTOR function in cancer cells with constitutive Akt activity.