The multiple facets of mTOR in immunity

Trends Immunol. 2009 May;30(5):218-26. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Apr 8.


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved serine-threonine kinase that is known to sense the environmental and cellular nutrition status to control cell growth. In immunity, mTOR is essential for both the proper activation and subsequent proliferation of effector T cells, yet also restrains the development of regulatory T cells. However, in monocytes/macrophages and peripheral myeloid dendritic cells, mTOR restricts proinflammatory and promotes anti-inflammatory responses, whereas, in plasmacytoid dendritic cells, mTOR fosters type I interferon production. These results place mTOR in a novel immunoregulatory context that highlights the potential of mTOR inhibitors as both immunosuppressant and anti-cancer agents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity / immunology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phagocytes / physiology
  • Protein Kinases / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases